There is a hot spring town on the coast of Hokkaido, close to Hakodate Airport and the Hakodate Horse Track, in the northeastern part of the prefecture’s Hakodate City.
The town is Yunokawa Onsen and it is one of the three major hot springs on the island of Hokkaido. The spa’s origins date back to 1653 when the then lord of the Matsumae clan was on the verge of death. Neither medicine nor treatment could cure his illness, and his condition worsened daily. One day his mother had a dream in which she was told that if he went to a hot spring located to the east of Matsumae Castle, he would recover. The onsen to the east of the castle is Yunokawa Onsen and it is reported that the lord visited the spa, soaked away his illness and completely recovered.
The water at Yunokawa Onsen includes a lot of Na-Ca (sodium chloride), is transparent, odorless and soft on the skin as well as being said effective in other areas. This hot spring is said to be good for those sensitive to cold temperatures, rheumatism, sprains, bruises, women’s diseases, stiff shoulders, back problems, nerve pain and gastro enteric disorders in addition to being able to soothe fatigue.
Around Yunokawa, the local area boasts an impressive fishing industry and serves up various types of seafood. From summer to early winter, visitors can eat fresh squid caught the evening before using just fishing fires.
Yunokawa is also famous for the outstanding surrounding landscapes created by the mountains and the ocean. Close to Hakodate, an international city visited by around 5 million every year, Yunokawa is well worth a visit so why not stay the night? After all, it is just 20 minutes by train from Hakodate.
Yunokawa Onsen Isaribi Matsuri Festival is held annually on the third Saturday and Sunday in August. Squid-fishing vessels, evenly spaced line-up near the shore to present a fascinating view as lanterns float on the surface of the Matsukura River and fireworks explode in the sky above the inky black sea in an attractive display of color amid darkness.
*The information herein is as of July 2006.