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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Relaxation

Misasa Onsen 三朝温泉

Outdoor mountain onsen, forest bathing, and a matchmaking frog

Misasa Onsen in Tottori has been famous for its curative powers for over 800 years. The waters here are naturally rich in radium, which apparently has some serious healing properties, both for bathing and for drinking.

In addition to the regular kind of bathing, you can refresh your spirit by walking out in the woods. Known as forest bathing, this is scientifically proven to enhance your mood. Single travelers may want to head for Koitani Bridge, which has a frog that according to legend will help you find a spouse.

Don't Miss

  • The world's most radium-enriched hot springs
  • The Kajika Frog perched on Koitani Bridge, said to bless singles with a spouse if rubbed
  • Forest bathing to revive your spirit

Quick Facts

The hot spring's origins can be traced to the 12th century

You can cleanse your six senses with a three-night stay

Misasa Onsen received Japan Heritage status in 2015

How to Get There

Local buses connect Misasa Onsen to Kurayoshi Station in around 25 minutes.

There are highway buses from Osaka and Hiroshima, bound for Kurayoshi, which also stop at Misasa Royal Hotel which is around 3 kilometers from the main onsen area.

Where the line between history and legend blurs

In 1164, Okubo Samanosuke, a samurai warrior and vassal of the mighty Minamoto no Yoshitomo clan, came to Misasa ("Three Mornings") on a pilgrimage to nearby Mt. Mitoku.

During the journey, he was confronted by a white wolf but decided to spare its life. That night, the Myoken Bodhisattva appeared in Samanosuke's dreams. In gratitude for sparing the wolf, the deity revealed where magical hot springs could be found, their waters gushing with miraculous, healing properties.

Marked by a statue of Samanosuke and the wolf, this site is home to a small bathhouse, drinking fountain and a footbath, the perfect place for some quick rest and relaxation.

Bathe with the locals, like a local

For many, using the Kawara Bath located next to the river is the ultimate in onsen experiences. Outdoors, mixed gender and in full view of visitors passing over the bridge, the fear of committing cultural faux pas can be a little overwhelming. As with most onsen, bathers are completely naked, so bring a small towel along.

You can preserve some modesty by disrobing behind the screen next to the bath or even by the side of the path. Using one of the available tubs, rinse before washing yourself until squeaky clean, then rinse off before entering the bath. Relax for as long as you like.

Forest bathing—a natural boost for your immunity

The Misasa hot springs have the highest levels of radium of any hot springs in the world. It is said if you bathe in its waters for three consecutive days, your health will improve. This is based on the theory of hormesis, where small doses of radiation are beneficial to health.

Various simple bathhouses and more upmarket ryokan bathing facilities throughout the town are available for use at a small cost. Reasonably priced, Misasa-kan is a popular choice with locals and visitors alike. Be aware that accommodations become scarce during the annual festival celebrating Marie Curie.

Rokkan chiyu—cleansing the six senses

“Rokkan” refers to the six senses, while “chiyu” means “heal.” Here and at nearby Mt. Mitoku, a sixth sense is recognized, one's spirit or soul. Soothe all your senses, including your soul, by relaxing, bathing, drinking local waters and inhaling the radon-infused steam.

Stroll to the sounds of a frog chorus

An attractive stone path lined with inns, shops and an arcade filled with retro games runs through the onsen area. At its center are a footbath and a small temple. As you cross the river, listen for the Kajika frogs and their unique chorus of croaks. Oddly enough, a person with a beautiful singing voice is referred to as a "Kajika" in Japan.

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