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Yoshigaura Onsen: Ishikawa onsen

Yoshigaura Onsen: Ishikawa onsen


Added In: Articles › Onsen (hot springs)


Kenneth Holmes
30.01.2009


Perhaps one of the greatest disappointments in Japan is the state of the coastal resort areas. So many are marred by concrete monstrosities that dominate the landscape, leaving one feeling as though you might as well have booked into a love hotel in Kanayama. But along the Noto peninsular there are still places that have worked hard to retain something of an older Japan.

Noto peninsular, in Ishikawa prefecture on the Japan Sea, has to be one of my favourite places in Japan. In the summer long, clean beaches, cheap camping grounds and good fishing. In the winter romantic villages tucked into the valleys, shopping in Wajima for traditional lacquer ware, and a range of hot springs across the peninsular. And amongst those hot springs, Yoshigaura Onsen has to be one of the most spectacular hot spring resorts anywhere.

Yoshigaura Onsen sits right at the northern tip of Noto Hanto. Getting there can take time if using public transport, but by car the road runs along the coast, with spectacular views. The one ryokan at the onsen, Lamp no Yado, has been in continuous operation for over 400 years. It gets its name from the fact that it used to have no electricity, all lighting being by kerosene lantern. Of course modern fire regulations put paid to that, but the owners have painstakingly maintained an authentic Japanese ryokan look and feel, albeit with all the modern conveniences.

Lamp no Yado sits right on the coast. The rotenburo look directly out to sea, the waves crashing on the rocks directly in front at high tide (one rotenburo is actually inside a cave). There is also a large thermal pool, but the kashikiri (private) bath is fantastic; sitting in the wooden bath, looking our over the Sea of Japan illuminated by powerful lights, has to be one of the highlights of my time in Japan.

If not staying at Lamp no Yado, you can still just drop in for a bath, but times are limited (usually between 5 and 8PM, check beforehand). The accommodation ranges from stand-alone traditional Japanese houses with their own private baths through to standard rooms within the main ryokan. Prices start at 18,000 yen per person per night, and head on up from there.
Getting there: by public transport, from JR Wakura Onsen station, take the train to Anamizu station, then bus to Yoshigaura bus stop. By Car, from Kanazawa IC take the Noto Hanto toll road and then the Suzudouro. It is about a 3-hour drive from Kanazawa IC.
Web: www.lampnoyado.co.jp (English and Japanese)
 

Yoshigaura Onsen: Ishikawa onsen
Lamp no Yado
Yoshigaura Onsen: Ishikawa onsen
The Pool at Lamp no Yado
Yoshigaura Onsen: Ishikawa onsen
Lamp no Yado