Yu no Tani onsen (Photo: Yu no Tani Hompage)
- 3 min read

Yu no Tani Onsen

A true hot spring with rich, healing waters

Saijo City isn't known for much, but it is known for its beautiful water and the majestic and tall mountain range from which it flows. Ishizuchi Mountain, and the range of its name, provide water for a variety of Shikoku area bottled waters, wine breweries, even Asahi Beer and Coca Cola. The Kamo River, coming from the same source, is the sacred center of the Saijo Festival, running between the two principal shrines and it's the same river that the danjiri floats enter at the end of the festival.

This same water flows underground, where it becomes richly inundated with minerals, and is drunk by most every citizen of Saijo City from their own personal wells, or from Uchinuku Locations (public water spouts). This water, in an area so rich with minerals that drinking it is ill advised (although for the adventurous, possible), you can find flowing through the spouts of Yu no Tani Onsen. The water is quite possibly one of the best that can be found at a Japanese onsen; it's so brimming with minerals that the list for dissolved particles in the baths numbers at over a dozen. The cold water is gensen, meaning that there's nothing between the underground aquifer and your skin except the pipe which brings it up. All of the hot water is heated through energy efficient wood fire stoves, just like in the animation Spirited Away!

The main bath is small and simple, so that it even resembles a public bath. There's a larger hot tub, a medium-heat tub, and a gensen cold water tub. There's also a sauna, which is kept at an extra hot 100 degrees! The flooring and tubs are well drained, and are of a combination of polished granite and ceramic tiles. This gives it a very luxurious feeling, despite it's small size.

The best part of Yu no Tani is that the water is so special, it's designated a public landmark which means that all are welcome. That means everybody, for those of you who may have trouble getting into other onsen due to body art. The customers and workers are all very friendly, and regulars are, well, regular.

The fee for the onsen is cheap at 360 yen, but if you're willing to shell out 600 yen you also get access to a breezy-cool resting room, where you can nap, stretch out, or relax while looking out at a lovely Japanese garden.

The front desk, aside from the usual toiletries, also sells a variety of locally grown and made foods, including ice cream and coffee.

The water at Yu no Tani Onsen is healing, and will leave your skin feeling silky and healthy, while leaving your body relaxed and refreshed.

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