Shiobara Onsen Hot Springs Village, the perfect place for detox and spiritual refreshment
Tochigi Prefecture, known for the location where the city of Nikko, a famous tourist spot in Japan lies, is also renowned for a number of quality Onsen (hot springs) resorts, mostly situated at Nasu area 那須 in the northern part of the prefecture. Shiobara Onsen Hot Springs Village 塩原温泉郷 is one of those Onsen resorts in the Nasu area, boasts its natural surroundings and offers outdoor activities, including bushwalking along the clear stream in the valley.
Shiobara, a historic resort village with a 1000-year history
Located 180km away from Tokyo, with a 2-hour travel by bullet train and bus, Shiobara Onsen or Shiobara Hot Springs Village is a health resort that holds 7 different types of spas, with a history that stretches back over 1,000 years. Lying at an altitude of 200m, Shiobara is also known for a summer resort where some Japanese imperial family members and literary masters had visited to enjoy gentle breeze and the tranquility.
Feel your body and mind refreshed by bushwalking
So, what comes to mind when people think of Shiobara, is definitely quality hot springs, however, it should also be noted as a place for outdoor recreation, featuring bushwalking in the valley. Blessed with abundant water, there are over 70 water falls in the valley where walking trails and suspension bridges are provided. Taking a spa break after bushwalking in a sweat will be mind and body cleansing.
There are 7 walking routes that lead to these viewing spots. It is recommended you get a route map beforehand so that you won’t be lost. The map is available on the web site of Shiobara Visitor Center. http://www.siobara.or.jp/vc/
The stream has crystal clear water. In Shiobara area, there are more than 100 Waterfalls and canyoning is another attraction there.
The Houkigawa River and Nanatsuiwa Bridge
There is a foot spa near Nanatsuiwa Bridge, available for free. Nanatsuiwa Bridge is 5 minutes walk from Shiobara Visitor Center.
Though you can take a one-day trip to Shiobara from Tokyo, remember staying at Ryokan or Japanese style inn and soaking in hot springs is the biggest attraction. There are many reasonable accommodations in Shiobara Onsen Hot Springs Village.
From Tokyo to Shiobara by train and bus
Route 1 : From JR Tokyo or Ueno Station by way of Usunomiya
From JR Ueno or Tokyo Station, take the Tohokuhonsen Line (Utsunomiya Kaisoku Rapid 1 hour 30 min.) and get off at Utsunomiya station 宇都宮駅 to change train. From Utsunomiya station, take the Utsunomiya-sen Line (40 min.) and get off at Nishinasuno station 西那須野駅.
Train Fare:2,590 JP Yen
From Nishinasuno station, take JR Bus bound for Shiobara Onsen Bus Terminal (40 min. Fare: 920 JP Yen)
Bushwalkers who start walking in the valley usually get off the bus at the bus stop "Mikaeribashi 回顧橋" to see Mikaerinotaki Waterfall. To visit Momijidani-ootsuribashi, the 320m-long suspension bridge, get off at the bus at " Omijidani Oohashi もみじ谷大吊橋"Tips
- Taking the Shinkansen Line from JR Tokyo station allows you to get Nasushiobara Station 那須塩原駅 in 1 hour or so. From Nasushiobara Station, JR Bus is also served between Nasushiobara station and Shiobara Onsen Bus Terminal (1-hour ride), but be aware that the first bus departures at 11:00PM. Also, the train fare is almost doubled (5,700 JP Yen)
- An express bus service is available from Shinjuku in Tokyo to Shiobara Onsen Bus Terminal, but it runs once a day, only at weekends. (3 hours 15 min. ) The Express bus is rather convenient for who want to go other resorts in Nasu area.
- For tourists who visit Shiobara Onsen Village after doing sightseeing in Nikko
Take the Tobu Kinugawa Line from Shimoimaichi station and get off at Kamimiyori Shiobaraonsen-guchi station 上三依塩原温泉口駅 (1 hour 50 min. Fare: 1,140 JP Yen), where a loop bus is service is available to go to Shiobara Onsen Hot Springs Village.
It is about a 25-min ride from Kamimiyori Shiobaraonsen-guchi to Shiobara Onsen Bus Terminal, and the fare is 200 JP Yen. (400 JP Yen for one-day ticket)
Shiobara Hot Springs Village 塩原温泉郷
Nasu Shiobara City 那須塩原市
http://www.city.nasushiobara.lg.jp/ (Japanese website)
Shiobara Visitor Center
http://www.siobara.or.jp/vc/ (Japanese website)