Tsukioka Onsen: Sulfur hot spring called “bijin no yu,” or “hot spring of beauty”
Located at a 40-minute drive from Niigata City, Tsukioka Onsen is a hot spring town enveloped in a smell of sulfur, home to hotels and Japanese-style ryokan inns, restaurants, and souvenir shops. The springs are sulfur springs, boasting the highest sulfur content in Japan, with a water temperature of 51 degree Celsius. Well known as“bijin no yu” (“hot spring of beauty”), the water has the reputation of making your skin as smooth as silk after soaking in a bath. It is also popularly known as the “hot spring of perpetual youth and longevity,” since your body keeps warm for a long time after taking a bath.
The water is usually vivid emerald green, but subtly changes to other colors depending on the season and weather conditions of the day.
The origin of the onsen dates back to 1914 when the water suddenly sprung forth during oil drilling. Subsequently, a building for a bath was built. It is said that in those days there were no houses around the building, but after hearing of the excellent effects of the water via word of mouth, many people began to visit the onsen, bringing their own cooking pots, rice, and vegetables.
At Gensen no Mori in the town, you can casually enjoy the hot springs by soaking your hands in the water and you can also drink the sulfur hot spring water, which is a rare experience in Japan.
Premium SAKE KURA offers premium sake brands from all breweries in Niigata, a prefecture famous for producing sake, and of course you can buy them there.
Around the town a peaceful countryside spreads out against the backdrop of the Gozu mountain range and the Iide mountain district in the distance. At Lake Hyoko you can see swans that fly down from Siberia from autumn to winter every year.
AccesTokyo Sta. >> 2 hr 10 min by Joetsu Shinkansen >> Niigata Sta. >>20 min by the JR Hakushin Line >> Toyosaka Sta. >> 20 min by shuttle bus (charged) >> Tsukioka Onsen
From EditorNiigata is also famous for delicious rice and sake!
More InfoTsukioka Onsen Tourism Association
Photo: Niigata Prefectural Tourist Association, Tsukioka Onsen Tourism Association
*The information herein is as of May 2018.