Ginzan Onsen literally means Silver Mountain Hotsprings, and it is famous for it's plethora of ryokans and onsens lining the river, flowing from the large waterfall at the back of the village area. It is well over 400 years old, having been a booming silver mining town before the mine collapsed and it converted over to being a onsen getaway.
Breath taking views of Taisho Period (1912-1926) architecture are reminiscent of Hayo Miyazaki's famous Spirited Away movie.
I had the pleasure of going at the very tail end of winter here in Tohoku. Located on the boarder of the Iwate and Yamagata, I stayed at a hotel in Muyarama and drove to Ginzan Onsen. Parking for those driving is at the joint parking lot, but the walk into town makes it feel as if you are traveling back in time.
If you are not able to get a night at one of the ryokans on the river front, you are still able to check out a few of the public onsens, which is what I did. There is also public foot baths to have your feet warmed by the natural water.
There are a few restaurants, but they are delicious and a cool way to check out some of the unique structures. The few shops all have local items and omeyage to pick up. I got my usual postcards for my wall, as well as some cherry flavored snacks and cute Ginzan Onsen etched glass cup.
Once the sun has set and the gas lanterns are glowing, it transforms into a magical and timeless place. I didn't want to leave, although I was tired from relaxing in the onsens for the day.
It is a picturesque place to visit and probably one my new favorite places in Tohoku. I am sure glad that I managed to cross it off of my bucket list! I hope to visit again, and maybe get a chance to stay in a ryokan next time!
Do you have a bucket list place that you want to go to?