Famous milky-white waters of Japan
Matsumoto City is located in the heart of Nagano Prefecture, and to its west on the eastern side of the sacred mountain of Mt. Norikura is Shirahone Onsen. The hot spring is said to have started bubbling forth in the Kamakura Era and has a history of more than 600 years. The quality of the spring has a mild acidity that is easy on the skin, and the white cloudy water is a special feature. The water is clear when it comes out of the spring but over time it takes on an unusual cloudy-white color. The water, which contains a lot of sulfur and sodium carbonate among other elements, is effective in improving blood circulation and warming the body from inside. In particular, it is supposed to be beneficial for gastrointestinal ailments, and there is the saying that if one enters the bath for 3 days, then he will not get a cold for 3 years. Also, it is recommended that the water be drunk, since it aids the organs of the digestive system and eliminates constipation.
Enjoy a tour of the springs that differ with each hotel
At Shirahone Onsen, there are 10 springs, each to be enjoyed for subtle differences in quality, color and scent. In the town, there are 9 hotels and ryokan (Japanese inns) along with a shared open-air bath so that a tour of the waters can also be suggested. However, since there is the possibility of dizziness due to staying in the springs too long, aim to enter the water 3 times per day. When it comes to onsen, it’s usually the case that the baths are separated for men and women, but at Awanoyu (Bubble Bath) Ryokan, you can enjoy mixed bathing in the large outdoor bath with no worries about being seen since the water is an opaque white. But there is a women’s entrance that is directly linked with a stairway that leads into the bath so that women can enter the water easily. After enjoying the waters outside, also enjoy them inside. The 37-degree Celsius free-flowing waters of the spring are so comfortable that you’ll end up sleeping. As the name“Awanoyu”indicates, this is a pleasant hot spring whose effervescent bubbles surround you as soon as you enter the bath.