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Kawaji Onsen

A riverside onsen town with lovely views, premium traditional hotels, and clear baths to ease all your aches and pains.

Located near Nikko, this quaint little onsen town sits in the fork of two rivers, and has long been an important way station and spa town. The springs were discovered in the 18th century, with alkaline waters said to heal a wide number of ailments of the bones and joints, such as rheumatism.

But it’s not all about medicinal bathing; even people whose joints are a-ok come for the serene atmosphere and pure relaxation. The springs are split between public baths, public foot spas, and exclusive ryokan inns. Some ryokan allow day visitors to their baths, but often the very best keep their waters for guests only — you’ll have to book an overnight stay to get access to those.

If you somehow work your way through all of the baths in town and still crave more, head on to the slightly more remote onsen areas of Yunishigawa Onsen and Okukinu Onsen, or downstream to Kinugawa Onsen. You won’t be stuck for choice, is what we’re saying!

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