Yamashiro Onsen: a prestigious onsen beloved by a great artist
Yamashiro Onsen is part of Kaga Onsen-kyo in Ishikawa Prefecture, which is known for high-quality spring water.
The history dates to more than 1,300 years ago, when a venerable Buddhist priest, Gyoki, on the way for his training on sacred Mount Hakusan, found a crow healing its wing wound in the water and he put his hand in the water to find that it was an onsen. The crow is said to be the legendary three-legged sacred bird called “yatagarasu,” which in ancient legend guided Emperor Jimmu, the first emperor of Japan.
Yamashiro Onsen is also known as the onsen beloved by Kitaoji Rosanjin (1883-1959), a man of many talents who was known as a painter, potter, calligrapher, lacquer artist, chef, and gastronomer. Said to have made 200,000 pieces of pottery throughout his life, he first woke to ceramic art in Yamashiro and left some pieces with a motif of yatagarasu.
“Soyu” refers to public bathhouses when ryokan hotels had no bath facility of their own. It is still a place where everyone can enjoy onsen casually.
In August 2009, a new “Soyu” opened and its shop sells “onsen-tamago,” eggs cooked by being immersed into hot spring water for eight hours. Sometimes as many as 1,000 onsen-tamago eggs are sold per day.
Don’t forget to try a new specialty, called “ontama-soft,” a combination of onsen-tamago and soft-serve ice cream. The sweetness of the ice cream and the saltiness of soy sauce creates an addictively rich taste.
In 2010, Kosoyu (“Old Soyu”), a reconstruction of the Soyu in the Meiji period (1868-1912), opened next to the Soyu, becoming a symbol of the town.
Soyu and Kosoyu
A lovely atmosphere at night
The hotels and inns are located around Soyu. Gensen Park near Soyu is the place where Yamashiro Onsen originated. With the spring water continuously gushing out, a free footbath is available.
Hokuriku is one of the richest areas of food ingredients in Japan.
You can enjoy various Japanese dishes with fresh seafood from the Sea of Japan as well as vegetables and fruits coming from the land with high-quality water and soil.
Sushi with fresh seafood from the Sea of Japan
Furthermore, Yamashiro Onsen is close to places for golfing and skiing and conveniently located to serve as a hub for trips to major sightseeing destinations, such as the Tateyama and Kurobe areas, Kanazawa, Eiheiji Temple, and Tojinbo cliffs.
Tokyo Sta. -> 150 min by Hokuriku Shinkansen Kagayaki or Hakutaka -> Kanazawa Sta. -> 25 min by limited express Shirasagi or Thunderbird -> Kaga-Onsen Sta. -> 10 min by taxi -> Yamashiro Onsen
Yamashiro Onsen Kanko Kyokai (Tourism Association)
*The information herein is as of April 2021.