Rest and recoup at this all-healing hot spring town.
Feeling a bit under the weather? Three nights at Misasa Onsen has the power to cure any disease according to a local proverb. The hot spring water in the area contains unusually high levels of radon (among the highest in the world). Benefits include a faster metabolism and improvement in the immune system as well as the standard muscle soothing and stress-relieving effects. It’s a popular place with Japanese people who treat the town as a rehabilitative retreat, staying for weeks, sometimes months at a time.
And being disease-free isn’t the only benefit to a stay at one of the best hot spring resorts in the region. You’ll also get to experience a charmingly quaint town, where cobblestone streets are lined with souvenir shops, cafes and restaurants, as well as plenty of ryokan (traditional inns) to rest in overnight.
Misasa Onsen boast a history of more than 850 years, first discovered by a samurai warrior who was rewarded with directions to the hot spring in a dream. Visit the source of the onsen, at the root of an old camphor tree, and bathe in the adjacent public bath Kabu-yu. If you’re feeling brave, Kawaraburo is an outdoor bath in full view of the shoppers passing by.
Misasa Onsen also serves as the base for travelers hoping to catch a glimpse of the mysterious Nageire-do Hall – a temple that dangles precariously from a rock face on the ancient and sacred Mt. Mitoku. In the summer, you can hike your way along one of the steepest mountain trails in Japan to the temple viewpoint, passing through the fascinating Sanbutsu-ji temple complex along the way.