Ginzan Onsen

A nostalgic hot springs villagers the mountains lit by gas lamps

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An “onsen” village developed when “Ginzan” (The Silver Mountain mine) was flourishing. The nostalgic atmosphere created by the early Showa Era buildings standing alongside the river attracts tourists.
Ginzan Onsen, Obanazawa, Yamagata Prefecture

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Early 20th century architecture stretches out in a retro townscape

The onsen resort boasts beautiful scenery in a mountain village rich with nature. In winter, the area is covered in deep snow and in the summer, it’s filled with lush green trees. Within Ginzan Onsen located in the middle of the mountains, there are up to 12 onsen ryokan along the river. When the sun sets, gas lamps provide a soft light and the beauty of the onsen resort is further enhanced. The old history of Ginzan Onsen can be traced back to the Edo Era in the 17th century. The area once flourished due to silver mining, and the hot springs discovered in the river through the mining there was responsible not only for the resort but also for its name. The buildings with their balconies erected in the early part of the 20th century which were called modern at the time have taken on a nostalgic façade over the passage of time, and so the onsen resort of this mountain hamlet has continued to attract visitors for its feeling of a past age.

An onsen town which totally feels like a spa

There are 12 onsen ryokan (inns) within the town. Staying at the ryokan with their Japanese hospitality, enjoying the cuisine and spending a relaxing time in the hot springs make for a royal experience. Taking a stroll in the town while wearing the yukata that can be rented from the ryokan is an experience that can only be found in the onsen town. Along with shops and restaurants, there are public baths that can be used for a fee and a foot bath that is free of charge, so how about trying them out? Most of the ryokan also provide hot springs for people who are just on a day trip, so you can enjoy the onsen without needing to stay over.

Fully appreciate the nature at Ginzan Onsen on its nature trail

The spacious nature that is near the onsen town is also beautiful. There is a nearby walking course available where you can enjoy the natural surroundings of the mountains at Ginzan Onsen. You will be able to observe features of lush nature such as the murmurings of the river and the silvery-white waterfalls. Just ahead, there are remains of the silver mine which can be toured. However, since walking is treacherous during winter, it must be mentioned that entry into the mountain toward the mine is impossible.

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6 years ago
Seems like a fairytale
I went there in February, and it was snowing all day. We arrived before lunch and did a little bit of exploring. Although it is impressive during the day, when the sun sets down and the lights turn on....that's when the magic starts. With the snow pouring down combined with the lights from the gas lamps, the whole place seems to come alive. However, it is best to remember the bus schedule for those who did not stay in ryokans in the area. There is only 5 bus from Oishida station to Ginzan Onsen each day!
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