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Suggested Itineraries

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Yamashiro Onsen Plan

An authentic and traditional hot spring town at the foot of a mountain, keeping its legacy of Kutani-yaki porcelain alive.

Time Required: 3h – 4h

Take a bath in traditional Japanese hot spring and discover the Kutani-yaki porcelain.

Yamashiro Onsen is as well known for its hot springs and ryokans as it is for its unique porcelain, known as Kutani-yaki. To immerse yourself in the culture of this old town, you can start with a visit to the old Kutani-yaki Kiln Museum. Here, visitors can work with this area’s clay and choose from a pottery wheel experience or ceramic painting experience under guidance from a local craftsman. The museum houses the oldest ascending kiln currently in existence and is a designated National Historic Site.

Venturing back into the centre of Yamashiro Onsen, you can lunch in one of the town’s numerous fish restaurants such as Ueda Sengyo-ten, Kame Sushi and Sushi-dokoro Heihachi. Look out for Utsuwagura, a traditional building dating back to the 19th century which now houses a beautifully renovated Kutani-yaki porcelain shop and gallery.

A little further on you will find yourself at one of the must-see attractions of Yamashiro Onsen - the Soyu and Ko-soyu public bathhouses. The latter was renovated a few years ago but retains its Meiji period (1868-1916) style, featuring exquisite bathrooms with stained glass and Kutani ceramic tiles. After taking a bath in either bathhouse, you can take a stroll around Hazuchio Gakudo, the area around to the Ko-soyu, famous for its souvenir shops housed in distinctive, traditional buildings. Here, you can enjoy sweets made with local ingredients at Hazuchio-saten Tea Shop or at Ninuriya where you can also purchase works by local craftsmen.

Not far from the Soyu and Ko-soyu, at the edge of the forest, is the beautiful Yakuoin Onsenji Buddhist Temple and the Shinto Hatori Shrine. It is a quiet sanctuary surrounded by a lush natural environment. In the spring, the cherry blossoms bloom and cover the hillside, and it is a wonderful and enchanting walk from the temple to the Bansho-en-Sazaedo observation tower, where you can admire the beauty of the landscape.

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