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 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.
The scenery becomes at its best in winter. With the heavy snow piled up on the roof and on walkways.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Those are some things to do in Ginzan Onsen. Ginzan Onsen is really pretty so I’d recommend everyone to visit here!