Ginzan Onsen is a small hot spring town by the mountains of Yamagata Prefecture, Tohoku region. The area originally developed for a silver mine, but after it ended the role, it became Japan’s prettiest onsen towns with historic ryokan lined up along the river.

The ryokans are all three or four-story wooden structure, adding prettiness and nostalgic feelings to the scenery. There are countless onsens in Japan, but I would like to say, Ginzan Onsen is one of the best onsens.

When you visit there, you have much more things to do than just relaxing in the onsen. I listed below things to do in Ginzan Onsen.

1. Enjoy the scenery

Ginzan Onsen during the day

Ginzan Onsen during the day

 

Ginzan Onsen is best known for its beautiful scenery. The pretty old buildings in this small town are so photogenic.

The scenery changes from day to night.

Ginzan Onsen at twilight

Ginzan Onsen at twilight

Ginzan Onsen at night

Ginzan Onsen at night

The scenery becomes at its best in winter. With the heavy snow piled up on the roof and on walkways.

Ginzan Onsen during winter.

Ginzan Onsen during winter. From Wikipedia

 

If you are staying overnight at a ryokan, the room comes with Japanese traditional clothes yukata. Walking down the street with yukata on will also be a great experience.

Walking down the street of Ginzan Onsen on yukata

Walking down the street of Ginzan Onsen on yukata. From Instagram

2. Go take a walk to see the natural beauty

There are few walking courses to enjoy the natural beauty around Ginzan Onsen. For example, there is a 22-meter waterfall at the back of town and the old silver mine is also walkable during spring and summer.

This map explains 1.4km walking course.

銀鉱洞直行コース(距離:約1.4km 所要時間:約60分)
(the map is written in Japanese)

“Hakugin no Taki”, the 22-meter waterfall.

“Hakugin no Taki”, the 22-meter waterfall.

 

The walking course. From Instagram

The walking course. From Instagram

 

The old silver mine

The old silver mine. From Twitter

 

3. Dip your toes into the foot onsen

Foot onsen is available to everyone for free. Just bring a small towel, take off your socks, and dip your toes! Foot onsen really feels nice and you won’t believe, but onsen warms your body even just dipping the feet. Onsen takes away all your fatigue.

Foot onsen in Ginzan Onsen.

Foot onsen in Ginzan Onsen. From Twitter

 

4. Shop for cool Japanese crafts

There are few shops that sell Japanese crafts for souvenirs. At the shops, you can get Japanese crafts such as chopsticks and kokeshi dolls.

The souvenir shop Edoya

The souvenir shop Edoya

 

You can also participate in a kokeshi painting workshop. The price is from ¥1,000~ depending on the size, and you will need to make a reservation. More information is on their website.

– Izu Kokeshi Koubou
http://www.izu-kokesi.gr.jp/

 Kokeshi dolls shop

Kokeshi dolls shop

5. Have some sake and snacks

When you walk down the town, you will be captured by nice smell of street foods. Some of the famous street food in Ginzan Onsen;

Ginzan Onsen Tofu

Their tofu is freshly made every day, and taste is passed down from the beginning of Ginzan Onsen. This place is located just next to the foot onsen, so you can enjoy eating the tofu as dipping your toes into the onsen.

“Nogawa Tofu”

“Nogawa Tofu”

The onsen tofu

The onsen tofu

 

Curry bread

This curry bread is so popular at Ginzan Onsen. This spicy but fluffy bread uses flour produced in Yamagata prefecture. The shop has a small cafe space where you can try other Japanese sweets as well.

“Haikara-san’s currybread”

“Haikara-san’s currybread”

 

The curry bread

The curry bread

 

Japanese sake

At Yagibashi Shoten, they sell Japanese sake and Japanese crafts. They offer 3 to 5 kinds of sake for tasting. The tasting cup is from ¥500~. If you like the sake, you can buy the whole bottle.

The Japanese sake for tasting

The Japanese sake for tasting

6. Relax in a day onsen

Even if you are not staying in Ginzan Onsen, some of the ryokans allow day visitors to their onsen. Visit the ryokans with the red icon on this page.

Ginzan Onsen Ryokans (Language is only in Japanese)

Kajika-yu is a public bath for day visitors where you can bathe for ¥300. The water here flows directly from the hot spring.

Inside Kajika-yu.

Inside Kajika-yu. From twitter

Those are some things to do in Ginzan Onsen. Ginzan Onsen is really pretty so I’d recommend everyone to visit here!

Ginzan Onsen at night

Ginzan Onsen at night. From Twitter

For more information

Ginzan Onsen, a Must-Visit Onsen in Yamagata