Not only are these hot spring waters relaxing, but they come with a great view, too.
With old castle ruins on a high hill overlooking the streets below, and a history involving 16th century military commanders, the city of Yonago might not seem like an obvious resort town at first glance. The small community is surrounded by majestic natural features, from the imposing Mt. Daisen rising in the east to the brackish waters of the lake Nakaumi to the west, and of course the salty waves of the Sea of Japan, which beat against Yonago’s northern shore. But under the earth, the city holds one more secret, a natural blessing beloved by locals and travelers alike: steaming, bubbling hot springs.
On the northern edge of Yonago, natural hot springs provide the water for the popular onsen baths in the area called Kaike Onsen, and the place is particularly famous due to its proximity to the Sea of Japan. Within this little strip of Yonago seashore, resorts and Japanese ryokan are lined up along the beach, offering fantastic views and luxurious baths of natural spring water. The Kaike Onsen Ryokan Association includes over a dozen different places to stay for the night and take a dip in the inviting waters.
The water gushing up from the sandy ground at Kaike Onsen is known to be particularly hot at its source, and well over 4,000 liters come out of the ground each minute from 19 different sources, averaging around 63~83℃. Kaike Onsen’s water is rich with sodium and calcium, and it’s said to be helpful for chronic pain like rheumatism and neuralgia, plus locals will tell you the water leaves bathers with clear skin as well.
During our trip to Yonago, the Japankuru team stopped into Yugetsu Ryokan to take a few pictures of their amazing indoor and outdoor onsen, with an infinity pool style bath that seems to blend right in with the salty seawater beyond. Talk about a one-of-a-kind experience!
The Sea of Japan isn’t just for looking, though ー the beaches at Kaike Onsen are popular swimming spots as well! This combination of hot springs and accessible beaches is rare even in Japan, and the quality of the facilities even led Japan’s Ministry of the Environment to add the Kaike Onsen area to their list of the 88 Best Swimming Spots in Japan. The beaches are calm and have trained lifeguards for safety, making the resorts along the shore ー complete with onsen and tranquil sandy slopes ー the ultimate relaxation destination.
Days in the sun and long soaks in the spring water are bound to work up an appetite. Travelers with a hankering for a little local flavor shouldn’t miss the chance to try a Yonago specialty like gyukotsu ramen (牛骨ラーメン), which uses a broth made flavorful with beef bones. The simple, savory taste is just the thing after bathing in salty seawater and sodium-rich hot springs! Next time you’re in Tottori Prefecture, treat yourself to a day of decadence.
Name: Kaike Onsen (皆生温泉)
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