We’ve brought you lots of information about Kinosaki Onsen, the biggest hot springs resort in Hyogo. Now it’s time to take a look at the lesser-known but just as lovely Yumura Onsen.
Nestled in a river valley in the northwestern mountains of Hyogo, Yumura Onsen is an authentic old-fashioned hot springs town beloved by many older Hyogo residents. Its quiet atmosphere is perfect for those wishing to avoid the endless crowds and gift shops of Kinosaki.
On my trip to Yumura, I stayed at Izutsuya. This venerable ryokan was founded in 1702! It’s a bit on the large size and truly a ryokan in the grand old style – the interior is reminiscent of the mid-20th-century Showa era.
Of course, guests are greeted on arrival with a Japanese dessert, a cup of green tea, and a warm towel.
Here’s a view of the courtyard garden.
Our room’s windows faced out onto a wonderful panorama of the little town nestled into the mountain valley.
We had some time before dinner, so we decided to go out and explore the town’s attractions.
Yumura is famous for hard-boiled eggs that you cook yourself right on the street. You just dip it in the hot springs and let it sit!
Have a mini-spa experience in the riverside footbath while you wait.
You can also take a sip of the hot springs water itself. (Cooled down, of course!) The mineral taste isn’t for everyone, though.
Yumura is also famous as the hometown of Yumechiyo, a geisha who suffered from leukemia due to the Hiroshima atomic bomb. A television drama of her life story was set here, drawing visitors to the region.
After our stroll around town, it was just about time for dinner. The multi-course Japanese meal was served in our room. I’ll try to let the pictures speak for themselves for once:
We also had a Japanese breakfast of salmon, tofu, and a colorful variety of small plates.
Of course, what really made our trip was the hot springs baths themselves! Izutsuya has a grand total of eight different baths, including herbal baths and outdoor baths in a Japanese garden setting. Private baths are also available by reservation. Luxurious!
Yumura Onsen is a great destination for a weekend getaway in a hidden corner of Hyogo, and Izutsuya is a lovely place to stay and enjoy the hot springs and Japanese countryside. It’s just another example of how there’s always more to discover in Hyogo after you’ve already been through the typical tourist routes.
Hours: Check-in: 3 PM. Check-out: 10 AM.
Address: 1535 Yu, Shin-onsen-cho, Mikata-gun, Hyogo 669-6821
Website: http://www.izutuya.com/ (Japanese)
How To Get There
From Sannomiya (train): Take the JR limited express “Hamakaze” to Ebara Station (2 hours). A free shuttle service (40 minutes) is available from Ebara Station to Izutsuya ryokan with advance reservation.
From Sannomiya (bus): A direct highway bus to Yumura Onsen departs from the Sannomiya Shinki Bus Terminal (3 hours).