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Hoshi Onsen at Chyojukan


Local Train Station: Jomokogen
From Tokyo: Take the Joetsu Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Jomokogen. Then, options to Hoshi onsen are as follows: Take the public bus to Sarugakyo and transfer to an onsen shuttle to get to Hoshi. You must make arrangements in advance with the ryokan if you choose to be picked up in Sarugakyo.
Another option is to take the Takaragawa Onsen public bus from Jomokogen station. It goes directly to the ryokan and takes about an hour.
And a third option is to take the public bus from Jomokogen Station bound for Yunogoya and get off at the Takaragawa Onsen Iriguchi bus stop. The Hoshi onsen shuttle can pick you up and drive you the last couple of kilometers. Remember to call the onsen to arrange for a shuttle pick-up.
Travel Time: Tokyo to Jomokogen Station, 1 hour 15 minutes. Connection by bus and shuttle to Hoshi onsen, approximately one hour. Total travel time approx. 2 hrs 15 minutes.

Location/Contact Info

Address: 650 Nagai, Niiharumura, Tone-gun
Tel: 0278-66-0005
Fax: 0278-66-0003
Web: www.matatabi.ne.jp/h... (Japanese only)


Price: Rates range from Y13,000 to Y26,000 per person (including breakfast and dinner).
Days Closed: Closed from the beginning of November through April.
Day Visit Option: Y800 (10:30am - 2:00pm)
Credit Cards: None accepted

The Water

Onsen Specifics: Two large indoor bathing locations (one mixed, the other for women only), and one outdoor bath which alternates between men-only and women-only.
Water Good For: Neuralgia, skin irritation and burns, rheumatism, stomach problems, hiccups, hardening of the arteries, and women's health problems.
Water Composition: Sodium, calcium, sulfur, magnesium sulfate

Hoshi onsen is unique among all onsen in Japanese. Located near to where Gunma, Nagano, and Niigata prefectures come together, Hoshi was once a popular stop on the Mikunikaido, the trail that passes over nearby Mikuni Pass. Originally built in the 1870's, the onsen is managed by the fifth generation of the Okamura family.

Part of its uniqueness comes from the fact that hot water flows directly up through a pebble and rock aquafilter -- to say nothing of the baths materials -- local cypress trees. Hoshi is said to one of only 50 onsen sites built directly at the source of the water, where no water is added to cool down or heat up the waters bathers soak in.

The Buzz

One Japanese onsen journalist who regularly visits upwards of 200 onsen a year ranks Hoshi as the best in Japan. So well regarded -- and photogenic -- you'll often find it on the cover of general travel and onsen-only magazines in Japan.

Onsen enthusiasts demand that the best of the best onsen have three characteristics: 1) that no water is added to what otherwise percolates up from the ground, 2) that the source of the water should be visible to bathers, and 3) the water must have curative porperties and powers that soothe both the body and soul. Hoshi covers all three categories.

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Onsen in Northern Kanto

Gunma Prefecture

Hoshi Onsen $$ 

Saino Kawara Onsen  $

Sekisei-kan Bekkan  $$

Ousenkaku  $$$

Ryokan Tamagoyu $$

Tochigi Prefecture

Kita Onsen $ 

Yu-Yado Miyakawa $$ 

Hachyo-no-yu $$

Kaniyu  $$ 

$ = under Y8,000 per person
$$ = between Y8,000 and Y14,500
$$$ = above Y14,500
= mixed-bathing onsen
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