奥飛騨温泉郷巡り Exploring the Okuhida Onsen Area

2010.07.31: 長野に来る理由 Reasons to Come to Nagano

Welcome to Tochio Onsen




あまり期待しないで、食べてから家族は皆で入りに行きました。そうすると、結構広い石風呂でちょうど良い温度(41℃?)で、周辺の緑の山を眺めながら、直ぐ側の蒲田川の流れも見れて(聞けて)・・・ 良い雰囲気でした。二男が「ダダ、川を触ってみたい」と言い出す。またかや?と思いましたが、お風呂から近いし、こんなに自然で恵まれている露天風呂だから… 「よし、一緒に行こう!」二人で裸で露天風呂から出て、川まで下りて、ちらっと入ってみました。その冷たい事!あわててまた露天風呂に戻って、ぐばっと入っちゃった。


Back in December, the Oku-Hida Onsen Area and Kamikochi ryokan associations had a get-together. The theme was "Inbound" (attracting guests from abroad), and they invited me to give a talk. I had been curious about Oku-Hida ever since then.

So, on our family's way back from climbing the Alps yesterday, as we drove through the Oku-Hida onsen district, I finally got a chance to see the area. Here in Togura Kamiyamada Onsen, we have around 27 inns situated around the huge Chikuma River flowing down the middle, with 1,000 meter mountains surrounding on both sides. But there in Oku-Hida, there are groupings of a few inns strung out along the valley, and what a deep valley it is, with 3,000 meter peaks towering above. And the Kamata River flowing down the middle is a cute little stream compared with the Chikuma River. At the very end of the valley is the impressive, double-decker Shin-Hotaka Ropeway, and more in the middle is a bear farm. Those seem to be the main tourist attractions. And the onsen mineral water is clear with no particular mineral smells. However, taking advantage of the deep mountain setting, there are supposedly more outdoor baths here than in anywhere else in Japan.

Anyways, our family of course loves onsens, so we were determined to find a nice outdoor bath to soak in along the way. The owner of the shop we stopped at for lunch in Tochio Onsen said there was one right across the street. A simple, small one, but right along side the river and the price was whatever one felt like paying. The town was proud of its onsen waters, and made this bath for visitors to enjoy and experience the onsen.

Hmm, a free onsen? We weren't expecting much when we crossed the street to check it out. It turned out to be a decent size, perfect temperature (41 deg C) and had an outstanding view of the surrounding green mountains and the gurgling stream next to it. As we were enjoying our soak, son Kenny said, "Dad, can I go and touch the river?" I thought, not again! But then I saw how close the river was to the bath, and how beautiful all of this mountain and river and onsen nature was, and said, "Come on, I'll go with you!" So the two of us hopped out of the onsen, and walked down to the river buck naked, and stuck our toes in. Wow, was it cold! We rushed back to the onsen bath and jumped in!

Soaking in the outdoor onsen bath and the river? That's not something we could enjoy back at Togura Kamiyamada Onsen with the Chikuma River!

新穂高ロープウェイのHPはこちらClick here for the Shin Hotaka Ropeway website.

栃尾温泉のHPはこちらClick here for info on Tochio Onsen


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