Spring into hot water: A short list of onsen in Shiga

Onsen: the magical Japanese hot springs and bathing facilities where you can relax your worries away. Wondering where the nearest ones to our campus in Hikone are? Then check out this short list put together by our former JCMU student intern in Japan, Moe Hayashi!

In Hikone now? You can map out your hot springs adventure using the custom Google map at the bottom of the page.

Example of an onsen (photo by 663highland)

It is getting colder and colder outside, making it is the perfect season for a trip to an onsen! There isn’t a better place to relax after a hard day of school or work. You can’t really find onsen in America, so I definitely encourage you to visit one if you are in Japan. If you are in Shiga, then I highly recommend you to go and enjoy one of these spots near JCMU:

1. かんぽの宿 (Kanpo no Yado)

Only a quick bike ride away, this is the closest onsen from JCMU. This is technically a hotel, but you don’t have to stay overnight to use their bathing facilities. This is actually pretty common – many onsen are in hotels, and you can generally pay to use the baths without booking a room.  One helpful tip: 日帰り (higaeri) means to go somewhere without staying there.

2. 長浜太閣温泉 (Nagahama Taiko Onsen)

So as I explained above, if you want to go to an onsen without staying at the hotel it’s in, you should get information for higaeri. Why don’t you try to find this information out yourself? Click the Nagahama Taiko Onsen‘s link above and scroll to the bottom of the page. There, you’ll see 日帰り温泉, or higaeri onsen. This is the information you’ll use when planning your hot springs trip.

3. あねがわ温泉 (Anegawa Onsen)

This onsen is actually located in Nagahama, not Hikone. It isn’t in a terribly convenient location, but it is beautiful! You have to take a taxi from JR Nagahama Station for 20 minutes, which would set you back about 3,500 yen. 

4. 須賀谷温泉 (Sugatani Onsen)

This onsen is really popular – so much so that you need you to call beforehand on weekends and holidays to make sure that there’s enough space for non-hotel guests. They also have a beautiful 露天風呂 (rotenburo), which is an outdoor onsen. You can see more pictures of this on their homepage.

露天風呂 (rotenburo)

5. 雄琴温泉 (Ogoto Onsen)

There are a lot of different onsen here – quantity is king! This is a historical location as well, so you can learn a lot about Japanese history while you’re in the area. It’s a decent ways away and will take some time to get there from JCMU, so it might not be a bad idea to stay overnight. Nevertheless, there are higaeri options if you’re not interested in that.

6. 極楽湯 (Gokurakuyu)

To get here, you can take a 5-minute taxi ride from JR Hikone Station or go on a 9-minute walk from Hikone Serikawa Station. You can not only step into an onsen, but you can also eat a nice meal here as well. For this reason and more, I think it is definitely worth the visit!

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