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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
Sub-zero temperatures and the greatest of outdoor environments, complemented by sizzling soul food and warm-hearted welcomes. 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
Sleek apple-red and electric-green shinkansen whisk you up to a haven of fresh powder snow, fresh fruit and fearsome folk legends Fearsome festivals, fresh powder and vast fruit orchards—the rugged northern territory of Tohoku offers a fresh perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
Mountains and sea meet in one of Japan's wildest regions, and the result is sheer beauty. Once largely inaccessible, Hokuriku is now reachable by shinkansen from Tokyo in a matter of hours 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
Characterized by the constant buzz of the world's most populous metropolitan area, the Kanto region is surprisingly green with an array of escapes that include mountainous getaways and subtropical islands Experience diversity at its fullest, from the neon of Tokyo to the ski slopes of Gunma, exotic wildlife of the Ogasawara Islands and cultural heritage of Kamakura
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Served by the shinkansen line that connects Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the Tokai region provides plenty of interesting diversions and easy excursions Tokai means "eastern sea," and this region stretches east from Tokyo to Kyoto and includes blockbuster attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
From raucous nights out to outdoor thrills to peaceful reverie, trying to categorize the Kansai region is a futile task The Kansai region is one of extreme contrasts—the neon lights of Osaka and glittering Kobe nightscape, the peaceful realms of Shiga, Wakayama and Nara, and the cultured refinement of Kyoto
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Less-traveled and delightfully inaccessible at times, the Chugoku region is a reminder that the journey is sometimes more important than the destination Welcome to Japan's warm and friendly western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Providing the stage for literary classics, fevered dancing and natural wonders 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
Easily reached by land, sea and air, the dynamic Kyushu prefectures are bubbling with energy, culture and activity The southern island of Kyushu is home to volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky, succulent seafood, steaming hot springs and the country's hottest entrepreneurial town
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Ruins and recreated castles of the Ryukyu kings nestle amid magnificent beaches in Okinawa, a diver's paradise teeming with an amazing array of coral and undersea life 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

Dorogawa Onsen 洞川温泉

A hidden hot spring retreat deep in the holy mountains

Dorogawa Onsen is located at the foot of sacred Mt. Omine in central Nara Prefecture. When not soaking in its healing baths and enjoying the old-town atmosphere, explore the nearby Mitarai Valley and the World Heritage Tenkawa Village.

How to Get There

Dorogawa Onsen is accessible via the Kintetsu Line from Kyoto, Osaka, or Nara, changing to a bus at Shimouchiguchi Station.

The train ride to Shimoichiguchi Station takes about 1 hour 40 minutes from Kyoto Station, 1 hour 25 minutes from Osaka’s Abenohashi Station, and 50 minutes from Kintetsu Nara Station.

From Kyoto and Osaka, travelers change trains at Kashihara-jingu-mae. From Nara, there are two changes, first at Yamato-Saidaiji, and then at Kashihara-jingu-mae.

A bus will bring you from Shimoichiguchi Station to Dorogawa Onsen in about an hour.

Mild hot springs and a mellow evening atmosphere

The springs at Dorogawa originate at the foot of sacred Mt. Omine, a major center of worship for practitioners of Shugendo, an esoteric religion blending Buddhism, Shinto, and mountain worship that originated in the 8th century.

The town’s high elevation and mild 26⁰C hot springs makes it the perfect summer retreat. The quaint, well-preserved townscape lined with inns, restaurants and souvenir shops harkens to its heyday as a popular onsen destination in the post-war era.

At night, wander outside after your evening soak to see the main street transformed by the flickering lanterns lining the way. Feel free to follow the lead of the Japanese and head out in your yukata robe and sandals.

A center for pilgrimage

Dorogawa Onsen is a short distance from Kinpusen-ji Temple, where Shugendo mountain ascetics congregate in August to venture up Mt. Omine. You may witness the lead priests in their distinctive white garb blowing conch shells while leading groups of pilgrims bearing staffs and ringing bells during that time.

While the surrounding temples and shrines have lifted the traditional ban on female visitors, Mt. Omine itself remains off-limits.

Dorogawa's lively Gyoja Festival

If you are in the area in early August, take in the Dorogawa Gyoja Festival, with processions of masked dancers in summer robes. It’s part of a lively celebration of Shugendo founder En-no-Gyoja’s legendary return from exile. You’ll see many of the Shugendo mountain ascetics in town during this time.

Further afield

From Dorogawa Onsen, an easy 4.5-kilometer walking trail leads to the pristine Mitarai Canyon and the nearby village of Tenkawa, where you can explore some superb limestone caves. Tenkawa is a World Heritage site, part of the Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range.

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