Yugawara Onsen guide

Yugawara Onsen is located in the southernmost part of western Kanagawa Prefecture. It is adjacent to the famous Onsen resorts of Atami and Hakone. It is easily accessible from the Tokyo metropolitan area, and there are facilities and sightseeing spots that can be easily enjoyed on a day trip. The rich natural environment here is perfect for refreshing your mind.

Get to know Yugawara Onsen

Area guide

A 4-kilometer-long Onsen resort area stretches across the Chitose River and its upper reaches, the Fujiki River. Yugawara Onsen is blessed with high-temperature Onsens with a maximum temperature of over 80 degrees Celsius. Around the Onsenba area, where the Onsens are concentrated, Onsen turrets can be seen with steam rising from them.

Yugawara Onsen is one of the oldest Onsens in the Kanto region, and was written about in Japan's oldest anthology of poetry, Manyoshu. Since ancient times, it has been known as a medicinal Onsen that is effective for wounds, and during the Edo period (1600-1868), it flourished as a hot-spring cure. Touji means to recover from illness and health by bathing in Onsens. During the Russo-Japanese War and the Sino-Japanese War, Yugawara Onsen gained nationwide recognition as a recognized recreational area, and was visited by many prominent politicians, military officers, writers, and painters. Yugawara Onsen is a scenic place loved by many writers and painters.

Japanese painter Seiho Takeuchi built his residence and studio on the grounds of a ryokan where he spent most of his later years. The Western-style painter Sotaro Yasui moved into Takeuchi Seiho's studio. The ryokan where Takeuchi Seiho stayed was renovated and opened as the town's Yugawara Art Museum in 1998. Here, visitors can see the works of painters associated with Yugawara Onsen.

In Yugawara, such literary figures as Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Junichiro Tanizaki, and Akiko Yosano, all of whom are essential to Japanese literature, conceived and penned their works. Their creative efforts resulted in masterpieces set in and about Yugawara Onsen.

Man'yo Park is a symbol of Yugawara Onsen, an Onsen resort that was written about in the Manyoshu anthology and loved by writers. At the entrance, there is a monument to the poem about Yugawara Onsen written in the Manyoshu. Since the Meiji era (1868-1912), many writers visited Yugawara and composed haiku and tanka poems. About 30 monuments of poems composed at that time stand along the path of literature in the park.

Located in Manyo Park, Yugawara Soyu Books and Retrea is a place where you can relax, read, eat, and enjoy Onsens while feeling the richness of nature. Soyu is an Onsen that gushes naturally from the riverbank and was used as a community Onsen in Yugawara. Soyu was carefully managed as a common property of the community. This facility inherits the spirit and culture of Soyu and promotes the attractions of Yugawara.

Various events and traditional events are held throughout the year in Yugawara Onsen. The changing nature throughout the four seasons is another attraction. You can enjoy your stay throughout the year.

In spring, rows of cherry trees along the Chitose River bloom and are illuminated at night. In addition, the Samurai Parade and Yukake Festival are held. The Samurai Procession is a parade of about 200 warriors in armor that parades through the town. In the Yukake Matsuri, a portable shrine is paraded through the Onsen resort area while being bathed in hot water. Along the way, 1,000 barrels filled with Onsen water and about 5,000 vats of hot water are prepared, and spectators shower the portable shrine with the hot water with great vigor. This festival originates from the Edo period (1603-1867), when Onsen water was offered to the Edo shogunate.

In summer, the Yugawara Onsen Fireworks Festival and Yassa Festival are held. At the Yugawara Onsen Fireworks Festival, approximately 2,200 fireworks colorfully illuminate the night sky. At the Yassa Matsuri, geiko (Japanese geishas) dancing in colorful yukata (summer kimono), hanaguruma (flower carts), and mikoshi (portable shrines) will enliven the summer season. Fireflies can be seen at the “Firefly Party” in Manyo Park. You can enjoy swimming in the sea at Yugawara Beach.

In autumn, the leaves are beautiful. Orange picking is also recommended. In winter, the plum trees in the Yugawara Plum Grove are in full bloom. Events are held in conjunction with the blooming season.


Trains are convenient for transportation. The nearest station to Yugawara Onsen is Yugawara Station. It takes about 1 hour from Yokohama in Kanagawa Prefecture, about 30 minutes from Hakone-Yumoto, 5 minutes from Atami in Shizuoka Prefecture, and about 1 hour from Tokyo to reach Yugawara Station. From Yugawara Station, it takes about 15 minutes by bus to reach Yugawara Onsen.

From Kanagawa

< Train >
Yokohama Station→<JR Odoriko Limited Express/JR Tokaido Honsen Rapid>→Yugawara Station→<Bus>→Yugawara Onsen (about 1 hour and 15 minutes)

Hakone-Yumoto Station→<Hakone Tozan Railway>→Odawara Station→<JR Tokaido Main Line>→Yugawara Station→<Bus>→Yugawara Onsen (about 30 minutes)

From Tokyo

< Train >
Shinjuku Station → <Odakyu Express Hakone/JR Shonan Shinjuku Line Special Rapid> → Odawara Station → <JR Tokaido Main Line> → Yugawara Station → <Bus> → Yugawara Onsen (about 1 hour and 45 minutes)

Tokyo Station→<JR Shinkansen Kodama>→Odawara Station→<JR Tokaido Main Line>→Yugawara Station→<Bus>→Yugawara Onsen (about 1 hour)

Tokyo Station→<JR Odoriko Express>→Yugawara Station→<Bus>→Yugawara Onsen (about 1 hour and 30 minutes)

Tokyo Station → <JR Shinkansen Kodama> → Atami Station → <JR Tokaido Main Line> → Yugawara Station → <Bus> → Yugawara Onsen (about 1 hour)

From Nagoya

< Train >
Nagoya Station → <Tokaido Shinkansen Kodama> → Atami Station → <JR Tokaido Main Line> → Yugawara Station → <Bus> → Yugawara Onsen (about 2 hours)

Nagoya Station → <Tokaido Shinkansen Hikari> → Atami Station → <JR Tokaido Main Line> → Yugawara Station → <Bus> → Yugawara Onsen (about 2 hours and 20 minutes)

From Osaka

< Train >
Shin-Osaka Station→<Tokaido Shinkansen Nozomi>→Nagoya Station→<Tokaido Shinkansen Kodama>→Atami Station→<JR Tokaido Main Line>→Yugawara Station→<Bus>→Yugawara Onsen (about 3 hours)

Shin-Osaka Station→<Tokaido Shinkansen Nozomi>→Nagoya Station→<Tokaido Shinkansen Hikari>→Atami Station→<JR Tokaido Main Line>→Yugawara Station→<Bus>→Yugawara Onsen (about 3 hours 20 minutes)

Water quality

Yugawara Onsen has long had a reputation as an “Onsen for wounds,” and historical documents from the Edo period (1603-1868) state that “its efficacy is especially beneficial for wounds. During the Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese wars of the Meiji period (1868-1912), Yugawara Onsen was chosen as a medical resort for the wounded. In addition to healing wounds, Onsen water has a soothing effect and warms the body well to create beautiful skin. The water is mildly alkaline, soft to the touch and non-irritating, and has great benefits for neuralgia, back pain, and women's diseases.

Yugawara Onsen has approximately 110 (FY 2018) sources, all of which are therapeutic springs with named qualities. The abundance of the springs allows visitors to experience the characteristics and benefits of the Onsens very well. It is also blessed with high temperature springs, with the highest temperatures reaching over 80 degrees Celsius.

Yugawara Onsen can be divided into three main types of spring qualities, and five types when classified more finely. The three main spring qualities are simple hot spring, chloride spring, and sulfate spring, which can be further classified into five types based on the combination of the main and sub-components of the Onsen, in the following order of number.

(1) [Chloride spring] Sodium calcium chloride and sulfate spring
(2) [Simple hot spring] Simple hot spring. Contains alkaline simple hot spring
(3) [Sulfate spring] Calcium sodium sulfate and chloride spring
(4) [Chloride spring] Sodium calcium chloride spring
(5) [Sulfate spring] Calcium sulfate spring

Nearly half of all Onsens are (1) sodium-calcium chloride-sulfate springs, and if (2) simple hot springs, which are the second most common, are included, they account for 70-80% of all Onsens.

Sodium-calcium chloride-sulfate springs combine the action of a sodium chloride spring (sodium-chloride spring), the main component of which is salt, and a gypsum component (calcium-sulfate), the secondary component of which is calcium sulfate. Chloride springs contain salt and warm the body well. The salt adheres to the surface of the skin and prevents evaporation of perspiration, making it difficult for the water to cool down. The gypsum component has a soothing effect, eases pain and inflammation, and helps wounds heal. It also softens and smoothes the skin, improves the skin's elasticity function, and prevents the formation of wrinkles.

A simple hot spring is an Onsen that is above 25 degrees Celsius and contains less than 1 gram of dissolved substances per kilogram of Onsen water. Even though the content is low, there are many excellent simple hot springs that contain a well-balanced amount of active ingredients. Among simple hot springs, alkaline simple hot springs are those with a pH of 8.5 or higher. Alkaline simple hot springs have the effect of removing dead skin cells from the skin, leaving it smooth and silky.

Yugawara Onsen also has many alkaline springs, including sodium calcium chloride and sulfate springs, which are the main types of Onsens, and are expected to be effective in beautifying the skin.


Yugawara Onsen appears in Japan's oldest anthology of poetry, Manyoshu, compiled in ancient times, about 1,300 years ago. The place where the poem was composed is thought to be the riverside of the Fujiki River, indicating that Onsens were already gushing in this period. Other selected old Onsens, known as “Japan's Three Old Baths,” also appear in the Manyoshu. However, Yugawara Onsen was the only Onsen in eastern Japan to be mentioned in the poem.

In the Middle Ages, the Onsens that gushed out on the riverbanks were surrounded by stones to form bathtubs, which were used by warriors and villagers as a hot-spring cure. Touji means to bathe in Onsens to recover from illness and health. Onsen were very useful for warriors who had been wounded in battle, as bathing in them helped wounds heal more quickly. At that time, Onsens were called “kogome no yu” or “kogomi no yu.”

In modern times, during the Edo period (1600-1868), several half-farming and self-catering bathhouses were established.

Yugawara Onsen was presented to the Edo shogunate as a medicinal Onsen because of the high efficacy of its hot water. The hot water was praised as a medicinal Onsen that was effective against all illnesses, but it was especially well known for its effectiveness against wounds. The offered hot water was filled into barrels and carried in a portable shrine from the Onsen resort to Edo (present-day Tokyo). At that time, there was a ceremony to purify the portable shrine by sprinkling it with hot water to pray for safety on the way. This ceremony is now being reenacted in Yugawara as the Yukake Matsuri (hot water sprinkling festival).

In 1651, the lord of the Odawara domain, Masanori Inaba, bathed in Yugawara Onsen, as recorded in the domain's diary. In the diary, Yugawara Onsen is called “Koume no Yu” (Onsen of Koume). Masanori's reign was 50 years. Masanori, who was sickly by nature, was able to maintain his longevity, probably due to the effects of the Onsens.

In 1672, the area where the Onsen was located became Miyakami Village, and the place name “Yugawara” first appeared in historical records. Since then, the Onsen has been called Yugawara Onsen. Since Yugawara Onsen gushed naturally from the riverbanks, the source of the Onsen was shifted whenever flooding occurred. The map of Yugawara Onsens in the Jisho, a geographical map completed in 1842, depicts three public yubotsubo. Among them, a so-yu (village Onsen) with a built-up stone wall can be identified. Soyu (village baths) were carefully managed and shared as common property of the community.

Yugawara Onsen attracted visitors as a famous Onsen blessed with beautiful natural scenery and delicious food, and established its own position despite being sandwiched between the major Onsen resorts of Hakone and Atami. In the late Edo period (1603-1867), Yugawara Onsen was ranked as one of the three best Onsens in eastern Japan in a ranking of the efficacy of Onsens in Japan.

In the modern era, during the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), the area was designated as a sanatorium for wounded and sick soldiers, and its reputation as a famous Onsen spread throughout Japan. 1896 saw the opening of the railroad line between Odawara and Atami, which made the area more convenient for visitors and brought in many literary figures. As a result, Yugawara Onsen was featured in many literary works.

Until around 1895, Yugawara Onsen used naturally gushing Onsen water from the riverbanks, but with the designation as a military sanatorium, the number of Onsen visitors increased rapidly and it became difficult to secure enough Onsen water. Therefore, from around 1895, dug wells began to be dug.

In modern times, the Tokaido Line passed through Yugawara Station in 1934, making it accessible not only from Tokyo but also from Osaka and Nagoya. Yugawara Onsen entered a period of great development, and after 1935, pumping pumps were used to pump up the hot water.

However, over-exploitation of the Onsen caused local residents to worry about the depletion of the Onsen, and in 1956, the town began managing the Onsen. The source turrets, hot water storage tanks, and hot water pipes along the Fujiki River show the efforts of the local people to protect the Onsen resources.