Gero/Shizuoka, Japan – Day 12

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In the Edo period, Gero Onsen was referred to as one of Japan’s three best onsen by the Confucian poet Hayashi Razan. While the town may now be quite a bit more urbanized than back then, the waters have retained that special quality which has made them so famous.

Japan Guide

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If there was more time, there looks like a lot of places for hikes.

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Typical onsen town setting in Japan.

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At the south end of the Gero Bridge is a large rotenburo (open-air bath) you can bath in for free; however, it has no facilities and is exposed to the bridge above.

Japan Guide

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More maple leaves….

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Taking a walk around the small onsen town in the hunt for my onsens.

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Purchased a Yumeguri Tegata (spa pass), a wooden tablet that gets you three visits to the baths of any of about thirty participating ryokan. It costs 1200 JPY and is good for six months. It also makes a great souvenir. The list of the participating onsens and the timing you can visit these onsens can be found here.

The spa pass only allows you to use the hot springs so there are 2 main things to note if you plan to use this. Bring along your own bath towels as these would not be provided. No food or drinks would be provided as you are there only for the bath use. You can find the rest of the rules here in Japanese.

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Image credit from 湯之島館

The first onsen I visited was 湯之島館 (Yunishimakan) which was opened for spa pass between 12pm – 3pm. This was recommended by the visitor center but I only realise it when I was there that it was located up in the hills and my legs was aching from hike yesterday and hence it was a tough walk up. However, I do agree that the outdoor bath offered a really great aerial view of the Gero onsen town.

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Image credit from 水明館

The second onsen I visited was 水明館 (Suimeikan) which is an onsen which made it to the top 100 onsens for 2012. True that the amenities was the best among the 3 onsens I visited. Spa pass holders have 2 choices in terms of the hot spring – high rise big indoor hot spring with view or the no view outdoor/indoor baths. The hours was 12pm – 3 pm for the pass holder.

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Image credit from 下呂温泉山形屋

The third onsen I visited was 下呂温泉山形屋 (Yamagata-ya) which has one of the longest opening hours from 1pm – 8pm so it makes it easier for spa pass holder to visit. They have a big indoor bath with a smaller outdoor bath with not too much view. Amenities is pretty average but I have to admit the waters from all 3 onsens are comparable.

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Lunch was Hida beef set. Can’t remember the restaurant as I was too tired from the walking the day before and the rush between the different onsens.

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Onsenji Temple worships Yakushi Nyorai, the Buddha of healing, whose image is credited to restoring the flow of hot spring water to the town after it was stopped up by a large earthquake. Climb the stone staircase to the temple gate to get a view of the city and Hida River.

Japan Guide

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Many foot bath also dotted this area.

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I nearly fainted again when I walked down these steps..pain pain!

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Back in Shizuoka for the night. Headed to a izakaya south of the Shizuoka station. This was the filming location of Du La La, a Chinese drama from China. This place is really popular with the locals as it was packed to the bream on a Tuesday night at 11pm!!! Everyone was still drinking and eating with the co-workers. No food photos, as my phone went dead and I just want to focus my last night with my husband!

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