Yunokawa Onsen: coastal onsen resort with great night view
Stretching along the coastline, Yunokawa Onsen is about 5 minutes by car from Hakodate Airport. 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 domain was deathly ill. Neither medicine nor treatment could cure his illness, and his condition worsened daily. One night 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. Following his mother’s advice, he was taken there and recovered soon after. It is said to be the beginning of Yunokawa Onsen.
The water at Yunokawa Onsen includes a lot of Na-Ca (sodium chloride), is transparent, odorless and gentle on the skin. This hot spring is said to be highly effective for various symptoms and problems, including sensitivity to cold, rheumatism, sprains, bruises, women’s illnesses, stiff shoulders, back problems, nerve pain, gastro enteric disorders, and fatigue.
Facing both the Pacific Ocean and Japan Sea, this area has been prospering with fisheries since olden days, providing a place to enjoy various kinds of seafood dishes. As many of the ryokan hotels used to be Japanese restaurants, the meals served there are just great. Especially from summer to early winter, you can enjoy fresh squid taken right from the ocean in early morning.
If you are planning to stay overnight in Hakodate, it is highly recommended to take the “Donan Isaribi Tetsudo (South Hokkaido Railway),” which started its operation under the new name in 2016. Enjoy a local train ride for about one hour from Hakodate Station and Kikonai Station. After Goryokaku Station, the train runs along the coastline, so you can see the Tsugaru Straits in a relaxed atmosphere. You can open the windows to feel the refreshing ocean breeze while enjoying your trip on the train. You may be able to see bright fires for luring fish at night.
On the third Saturday and Sunday in August every year, Yunokawa Onsen Firework Festival is held, where you can see lanterns floating down on Matsukura-gawa River and fireworks shooting up from downstream. It is a powerful event that colors the summer night sky in Hakodate, along with the fires on squid-fishing boats in the waters off the Tsugaru Straits.
Fire for luring fish at night
Saruyama Onsen in Hakodate City Tropical Botanical Garden
a night view from Mount Hakodate
Haneda Airport -> 80 min by air -> Hakodate Airport -> 5 min by taxi -> Yunokawa Onsen
Hakodate Yunokawa Hot Springs Ryokan Cooperative
*The information herein is as of April 2021.