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Photo By: PIXTA/タマムシ
Region
Chugoku
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Matsue
Population
761,499

Tamatsukuri Onsen

One of the oldest hot springs in Japan, and famous for waters that promote beautiful skin.

By Laura Payne

The oldest record of Tamatsukuri Onsen dates back to the year 733 and claims that bathing in these hot springs once will make you beautiful while bathing in them twice will cure all diseases.

Today, the springs of Tamatsukuri are so famous for skin-beautifying properties that their water is sometimes called a natural lotion. This reputation and the riverside townscape that houses the hot springs attract visitors from the nearby cities of Izumo and Matsue as well as other regions.

Easily accessible via city buses or local JR trains, Tamatsukuri is a popular getaway for day trips or overnight stays in Shimane Prefecture.

Beautifying Waters

Tamatsukuri Onsen

Photo by: PIXTA/タマムシ Get some much needed rest and relaxation in “beautifying” waters.

Head to the main hot spring area on the upper Tamayu River, and the first springs you will see are free foot baths built into the riverbank. Take a seat, soak your feet and when you’re finished, stroll along the riverside walking paths to enjoy the town’s atmosphere. If the weather isn’t ideal during your visit, another foot bath located in Himegami Square provides a roof to shelter guests from the elements.

For a full-body soak, multiple hotels, ryokan (traditional-style inns) and public bathing facilities offer admission to day-trippers or overnight guests.

Rich in sulfate and chloride, Tamatsukuri’s hot spring water is particularly famous for its moisturizing benefits. If you like the water’s effect on your skin, you can take some home from a fountain in Yuyakushi Square. Simply pay a small fee, and collect the fountain’s spring water in a souvenir bottle. Local cosmetics shops also sell a wide range of products made from Tamatsukuri’s water.

Bead Making Traditions

Tamatsukuri Onsen

Photo by: PIXTA/aruga A one-of-a-kind souvenir.

The name Tamatsukuri means bead making in Japanese, and the hot spring area bears that name because local artisans practice a centuries-old tradition of hand-crafting beads.

Magatama (comma-shaped beads) are the most famous items produced in Tamatsukuri because these beads carry deep connections to Japan’s history and culture. One of the three imperial regalia—treasures of Japan’s Imperial Family—is a magatama, and historically people have worn magatama as ornaments or talismans.

Nowadays, the powers of a magatama are said to be connected to the type of stone the bead is made of. This is why jewelry stores in Tamatsukuri carry magatama made from a variety of semi-precious stones, so visitors can find one that speaks to their needs. Some stores also offer the opportunity to craft your own magatama, creating a unique talisman.

Things To Know

FOOT BATHS AND BATHING POLICIES

If you want to use Tamatsukuri’s foot baths but do not have a towel on hand, you can buy one for about ¥100 from a stand in Himegami Square. Other bathing facilities also provide various rental amenities for use in their baths for a fee.

Every hotel, ryokan and public bathing facility has their own policy for admission prices, whether baths are open for day use and whether or not tattoos are permitted. Checking the policies of individual resorts, including policies for private baths, ahead of your visit is recommended.

How To Get There

Address

By train

Take a local train on the San’in Main Line and alight at Tamatsukuri Onsen.

The Yakumo Limited Express train also stops at Tamatsukuri Onsen. Riders traveling from outside of Shimane can embark on this train at Okayama Station. Within Shimane, the Yakumo stops at major stations such as Izumo and Matsue.

From Tamatsukuri Onsen station, it is about a 30-minute walk to the main hot spring area along the Tamayu River.

Alternatively, you can take a bus on the Tamatsukuri Sen (Tamatsukuri Line) from Matsue Station and alight at Himegami Hiroba. This bus stop is in the heart of the main hot spring area.

By car

If coming by car, parking is available at Tamatsukuriyu Shrine and public bathing facilities such as Yuyu Onsen. Hotels and ryokan provide parking for overnight guests.

Where To Stay

Matsunoyu
  • 1215 Tamayucho Tamatsukuri, Matsue-shi, Shimane, 699-0201 Japan
  • ¥20,900 - ¥26,125
  • 0.2 km
Yunosuke no Yado Chorakuen
  • 323 Tamayucho Tamatsukuri, Matsue-shi, Shimane, 699-0201 Japan
  • ¥28,600 - ¥28,600
  • 0.2 km
Ryotei Yamanoi
  • 1042 Tamayucho Tamatsukuri, Matsue-shi, Shimane, 699-0201 Japan
  • ¥12,400 - ¥24,100
  • 0.3 km
Tamatsukuri Onsen Tamai Bekkan
  • 1247 Tamayucho Tamatsukuri, Matsue-shi, Shimane, 699-0201 Japan
  • ¥13,200 - ¥15,400
  • 4.06/5 (1,039 reviews)
  • 0.4 km
Matsue Shinjiko Onsen Hotel Ichibata
  • 30 Chidoricho, Matsue-shi, Shimane, 690-0852 Japan
  • ¥11,286 - ¥28,300
  • 4.31/5 (2,429 reviews)
  • 6.2 km

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