A quick dip for daytrippers in Ginzan Onsen.
Ginzan Onsen town is one of Japan’s top destinations for hot spring lovers, but many of the antique onsen hotels and ryokan (traditional inn) baths are only open to guests staying there. However, Takimikan — only a 5-minute walk from the main street of Ginzan Onsen in Yamagata Prefecture — is open to day-hoppers for a late-morning/early-afternoon soaks in their hot spring baths.
Away from the downtown hustle, Takimikan is secluded high up on the hills. Baths are open to non-hotel guests from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day — not a big window of time, but hopefully enough to spoil you with healing waters and rewarding views, as a stay at this ryokan varies in prices around ¥30,000 per night.
Takimikan has just 14 rooms and a few small baths but with great views. The indoor bath is overlooking the mountainside behind glass. The indoor rectangular bath is set at 42-degree celsius, which may take a while for amateur onsen hoppers to immerse entirely, and the glass window overlooking the tranquil trees and sky.
Heading outside, though, you’ll find the best view at the open-air outdoor rocky bath — sized for about eight people. If you’re lucky, take a seat on one of the higher rocks towards the edge of the bath. Views are good anywhere at the outdoor bath, but if you’re closer to the edge, you will be able to see Shirogane Waterfall peacefully plunging down the opposite mountainside. The best time to visit Takimikan is probably autumn for fall foliage, but it is equally charming when the mountains are covered in deep layers of fluffy snow mid-winter.
Photo by: @qlipjapan
Thanks to Takimikan’s location on the mountain, you will have free views of the sporadic houses below but will be protected enough not to be seen. Plus, you won’t have to worry about rain or snow as you will be well-covered by a roof. Take in all the sounds of nature as you close your eyes and melt into your surroundings.
Takimikan likes to call itself as the “hotel of waterfall and soba.” Right, you’ve had the waterfall, so fulfill the other item by savoring Takimikan’s handmade soba noodles. These soba noodles are made from local Obanazawa soba powder and are made to order. There are a couple different soba sets available — but of course, the more elegant it is, the more it’ll cost!