YUNISHIGAWA / KAWAMATA / OKUKINU
In 1185, the Heike, a once prosperous ruling warrior clan, was defeated by the Genji, an emerging clan, at the battle of Dannoura (Yamaguchi Prefecture). Legend has it that fleeing Heike soldiers found a hot spring here and cured their wounds. That historical location is Yunishigawa Onsen, a secret spot in the valley. At the Heike Taisai (grand festival of Heike),soldiers in armor and elegant princesses parade along the street. When Takenoyoi Matsuri (festival of bamboo lantern night), based on the Tanabata (star festival), starts from July 7 for about one month, the hot spring town is illuminated by gentle light of bamboo lanterns. In
winter, Kamakura Matsuri (snow hut festival) is held and attracts people with its fantastic snow scene and seemingly endless number of kamakura (snow huts). The specialty of this area is freshwater fish, wildfowl or deer grilled over an irori hearth. In Kawamata Onsen, located in the heart of nature, there are open-air baths alongside the valley where visitors enjoy the hot spring bath while watching the lake and the natural landscape. Okukinu Onsen is known for Kinunuma pond, as a treasure trove of alpine plants, and as a quiet spa surrounded by a virgin beech forest. Here, you can feel truly embraced by grand nature, which is of course impossible in city areas. This makes the Okukinu area especially attractive.