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Suggested Itineraries

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Yamanaka Onsen Plan

A charming town, in a peaceful valley, with exquisite landscapes and crafts culture renowned in Japan for its Yamanaka-nuri lacquerware.

Time Required: 3h – 4h

Come and discover crafts and exquisite landscapes....

In the heart of a small valley, with Japanese pine and cedar trees at its edges, Yamanaka Onsen is one of those places that offers visitors a strong immersion in the Japanese culture.

Without a doubt one of the major attractions of Yamanaka Onsen is the Kakusenkei Gorge, a natural wonder of the region nestled in the heart of the city. We recommend you start your journey from the Kurotani Bridge. From there, you can meander along the path next to the Daishoji River and visit the small hut of the poet Basho (1644-1694). Along the way you will also encounter the spectacular Ayatori Bridge and its curious metal structure. Further on, you can stop for a relaxing break at the Kakusenkei Kawadoko café on the riverbank. Shortly before the end of the route lies an ancient samurai residence. We invite you to explore the Mugen-an (samurai house) which is a perfect example of a shoin-zukuri (an old military residence) style building. At the end of the trail, you will cross the beautiful wooden Korogi Bridge which was first built in 1941 and was replaced for the third time in 2019 due to its age.

At this point, make your way up Yuge Kaido, Yamanaka Onsen’s main street. Here, a number of shops and galleries sell contemporary and traditional Yamanaka lacquerware handicrafts, such as the charming Gatomikio/1 shop. You can also sample delicious croquettes at the Izumiya butcher's shop, a local institution, and taste local sake in various stores. Walking up the street, you will arrive at a large square where the Kiku no Yu public bathhouse stands. On this square there is also a small hot spring bath where you can soak your feet. At the far side is Yamanaka-za theatre which offers Geisha dance performances every Saturday, Sunday and on public holidays.

During your visit, we highly recommend experiencing one of the woodturning workshops to create your own Yamanaka lacquerware bowls. Yamanaka Onsen's lacquerware and woodturning technique is known to be world class.

Rokuro-no-Sato Arts and Crafts Hall (a 25-minute walk from Korogi Bridge or 5 minutes by taxi) is an atelier and crafts hall, located in a traditional, old, Japanese village house where you can take a starter lesson in woodturning. mokume is a charming studio on Yuge Kaido street, where you can also learn about, and try your hand at woodturning. It is a unique opportunity to be introduced to this traditional craft and meet local artisans.

Recommended Places in Yamanaka Onsen (3h – 4h)