Ginzan Onsen guide

Ginzan Onsen is a hot spring located in Obanazawa City, in the northern part of the Murakami region of Yamagata Prefecture. It is a hot spring discovered by the miners of the Enzawa Silver Mine, which flourished as a large silver mine in the early Edo period (1603~1868), and has a history of about 500 years.

In the hot spring town, there are many wooden multi-storey inns built from the Taisho period (1912~1926) to the early Showa period (1926~1989) on both banks of the Ginyama River.

The Taisho period (1912~1926) was a period in which Western culture, which came to Japan during the Meiji period (1868~1912), was fused with the traditional culture of Japan, and a unique culture was born in Japan. Ginzan Onsen is a popular hot spring resort where you can enjoy the nostalgic cityscape that retains the remnants of this era.

At Ginzan Onsen, gas lamps are lit at dusk, and a warm light envelops the hot spring town. The atmosphere of the hot spring town, which cannot be experienced in the city, is exceptional.

Get to know Ginzan Onsen

Area guide

In the hot spring town, there are plenty of cafes, eating spots, and souvenir shops within walking distance.

There is also a shop where you can rent costumes from the Taisho era, so you can wear costumes and stroll around the hot spring town and take pictures. Some of the buildings that line the hot spring town have colorful paintings called trowel paintings. Trowel painting is a decoration that is painted with plastering and plastering irons on the walls.

In the trowel paintings, you can see the ingenuity of the plasterer who tries to entertain the passers-by. It is also recommended to take a walk while looking for trowel paintings. If you are tired of walking, you can take a break while admiring the scenery of the hot spring town in the footbath along the Ginzan River.

During the day and at night, Ginyama Onsen changes its appearance completely, but winter is a particularly popular season.

Obanazawa City is known as one of the heaviest snowfall areas in Japan. The scenery of the snow falling deeply in the hot spring town with the mountain view in the background is beautiful and fantastic. On winter nights, the soft light of gas lamps shines in the silver-white hot spring town, which is very dramatic.

And one of the pleasures of this season is the snow viewing bath. At the ryokan with an open-air bath, you can enjoy the hot spring while admiring the beautiful snowy scenery.

The specialty gourmet food you want to try at Ginzan Onsen is Obanazawa beef and Sekizo soba. Both are gems produced in Obanazawa City, which is covered with snow in winter.

Obanazawa beef is a high-end Wagyu beef brand that is said to become tastier the more snow falls. Wagyu beef raised in Obanazawa City is equipped with high-quality fat to protect itself from the harsh winter. The fat of Obanazawa beef is fine, and the texture is fluffy and light, like powdered snow. It also has a lot of flavor.

Sekizo soba is made from buckwheat nuts stored in a snow warehouse (natural snow refrigerator) during the winter. The buckwheat fruit that has been aged slowly for a long time brings out the sweetness and aroma, and the flavor is further enhanced.

After enjoying the hot springs at the ryokan, you can enjoy local gourmet food with seasonal ingredients.


The nearest station to Ginyama Onsen is JR Oishida Station. From JR Oishida Station, you can get to Ginyama Onsen by bus or taxi. It takes about 40 minutes to get to the bus stop at the entrance of the hot spring town. It takes about 30 minutes to get to Ginyama Onsen by taxi.

By plane, the "Delicious Yamagata Airport Sightseeing Bus" is a direct bus from Yamagata Airport to Ginyama Onsen. It takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes to get to Ginyama Onsen from Yamagata Airport. The number of direct buses is limited, so it is necessary to check in advance.

From Tokyo

<Airplanes and buses>
Haneda Airport →Yamagata Airport→< direct bus>→ Ginyama Onsen (about 2 hours 15 minutes)

< Shinkansen and Bus >
Tokyo Station →<Yamagata Shinkansen>→ Oishida Station→< Ginyama Onsen Bus >→Oishida Station→ Ginyama Onsen (about 4 hours 10 minutes)

From Osaka

<Airplanes and buses>
Osaka International Airport (Itami Airport) → Yamagata Airport →< direct bus >→ Ginyama Onsen (about 2 hours 30 minutes)

< Shinkansen and Bus >
Shin-Osaka Station→< Shinkansen>→ Tokyo Station→< Yamagata Shinkansen>→ Oishida Station→< Ginyama Onsen Bus>→ Oishida Station→ Ginyama Onsen (about 6 hours 40 minutes)

From Sendai

< train and bus >
Sendai Station→< JR Sendai Line>→ Hamae-Chitose Station→< JR Ou Main Line>→ Oishida Station→< Ginyama Onsen Bound Bus >→Oishida Station→ Ginyama Onsen (about 2 hours 30 minutes)

< Bus >
Sendai Station→< Highway Bus>→ Obanazawa Waiting Area→< Route Bus>→ Ginyama Onsen (about 2 hours 30 minutes)

Water quality

The quality of the spring at Ginyama Onsen is sodium chloride sulfate hot spring (hypotonic neutral high hot spring). It is colorless and transparent, has a slight salty taste and has a faint smell of hydrogen sulfide. If hydrogen sulfide is too strong, it can cause rough skin, but it is gentle on the skin because it does not contain a large amount.

The hot water has a nice texture, and not only warms the body firmly, but also has a skin-beautifying effect.

The salts contained in hot water form a film on the surface of the skin that prevents the evaporation of water and prevent the body from cooling due to the heat of vaporization. So, it warms up to the core of the body. Hot water contains a lot of metasilicic acid, which is a moisturizing ingredient, so the skin is moisturized after bathing. Due to the action of calcium ions, the skin does not feel smooth and sticky even in summer.

You can not only bathe, but also drink hot springs, but each of them has different indications and contraindications.

In addition, there are general precautions for both bathing and drinking.

When performing hot spring healing for bathing, it is important to observe the precautions such as the number of baths per day, the time, and the period. Avoid bathing when drunk, on an empty stomach, or immediately after eating.

In drinking therapy, you should receive guidance from a doctor with specialized knowledge. Depending on the ingredients of the hot spring, it is necessary to reduce or dilute the amount, and when to drink it will also affect the effect. With the guidance of a professional, you can enhance its effectiveness. In addition, you need to be careful not to drink too much. The amount of drinking hot spring at one time should be about 100 ml to 200 ml.

Observe these precautions when bathing or drinking.

Indications for baths

A positive effect is expected for each of the following symptoms:
Cuts, burns, chronic skin diseases, frail children, chronic gynecological diseases, arteriosclerosis, neuralgia, muscle pain, joint pain, frozen shoulder, motor paralysis, joint stiffness, bruises, sprains, chronic digestive diseases, hemorrhoids, sensitivity to cold, recovery from illness, recovery from fatigue, health promotion

Contraindications for baths

If you have any of the following symptoms, refrain from bathing.
Acute illness (especially if there is fever), active tuberculosis, malignancy, severe heart disease, respiratory failure, renal failure, bleeding disorder, severe anemia, and other diseases that are generally ongoing, during pregnancy (especially in the early and late stages)

Indications for drinking

A positive effect is expected for each of the following symptoms:
Chronic digestive disorders, Chronic constipation, Chronic cholecystitis, Cholelithiasis, Obesity, Diabetes, Drafts

Contraindications for drinking

If you have any of the following symptoms, refrain from drinking.
Kidney disease, hypertension, and other general swelling, thyroid dysfunction, diarrhea


Ginzan Onsen has some nostalgic inns with wooden multi-story buildings that line both banks of the Ginzan River.

Ginzan Onsen is a hot spring with a history of about 500 years, discovered by miners who worked at Enzawa Silver Mine. The name of Ginzan Onsen comes from the Enzawa Silver Mine, which once flourished as a large silver mine.

The hot spring town was deserted for a time due to the decline of the silver mines, but it was revived during the Taisho (1912~1926) and Showa (1926~1989) periods, and wooden inns were built one after another on both banks of the Ginzan River.

Nobezawa Silver Mine is a silver mine discovered in 1456 during the Muromachi period (1336~1573).

In the early Edo period (1603~1868), it reached its peak and was called the three major silver mines in Japan, along with the Iwami Silver Mine in Shimane Prefecture and the Ikuno Silver Mine in Hyogo Prefecture. During this period, Japan produced one-third of the world's silver, and silver was an important export. However, the silver output of the Yanze Silver Mine gradually declined, and it was abandoned in 1689.

The population around the silver mine, which is said to have been about 25,000 people at its peak, has decreased, but instead hot springs have been cured. In the late Edo period (1603~1868), the name of Ginzan Onsen was found in the hot spring numbering, and it can be seen that it was quite popular. The hot spring banzuke is a ranking of hot spring resorts based on the ranking table of sumo wrestlers, and is a ranking of popular hot springs in the Edo period.

During the Taisho period (1912~1926), a major flood on the Ginzan River occurred in 1993, and most of the hot spring inns that stood in the hot spring resort were washed away. In addition, the amount of hot springs gushing out was small, and the river water was mixed and the temperature was low, so the demand for hot springs did not grow. However, in 1921, a power plant was built using water from the Ginyama River, which became a foothold for reconstruction.

In the Showa era (1926~1989), in 1926, a large amount of hot water gushed out by boring at the source, and each ryokan was rebuilt at once with a Western-style 3~4-story wooden structure. After the war (1945~), the Westernization of the building subsided, and the appearance of the Japanese style approached.

The inn at that time has been carefully preserved, and the nostalgic hot spring town with its unique scenery has become one of the most popular hot spring resorts in the Tohoku region.