Ginzan Onsen, Obanazawa

4.3
Must see · Hot Spring · Historic Walking Area
Ginzan Onsen (銀山温泉) is an onsen (hot spring) area in Obanazawa, Yamagata Prefecture, Japan. Its name means "silver mine hot spring". Ginzan Onsen's economy took off thanks to its booming silver production and eventually transitioned over to tourism when it opened up dozens of hot spring resorts along the central river that runs through the town. The mountains that surround this town yield rich hot spring water that is used both in the private hotels and public baths in the city center.
Ginzan Onsen became nationally famous as it was featured in the popular television drama Oshin. Each year this onsen village sees hundreds of thousands of domestic Japanese visitors.

Internationally, this town saw a sharp rise in foreign tourism thanks to the famous snow covered sights in the winter. It has since been featured on international travel sites and agencies across the world. CNN has even suggested that this onsen town may be "Japan's most charming winter village".

Fossils from the Miocene era have been found in the vicinity.

Access to this town requires riding a bus or taking a short taxi ride.

Lodging at Ginzan Onsen can be difficult due to limited availability of rooms in this small town. Guests are advised to make reservations one year in advance if they wish to stay here during the months of January or February.
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Ginzan Onsen reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
94 reviews
Google
4.3
TripAdvisor
  • If you want to visit this town it is easier if you drive or hire a taxi for 30,000 yen for around 4 hours and it only takes 1 hour to drive. We booked the taxi at our Inn Amazuno so managed to get a.....  more »
  • I’ll say it’s a must see place in Tokyo - so you can feel the historic atmosphere and enjoy the unbelievably beautiful view during your stay at Ginzan Onsen.  more »
Google
  • Very nice place ,must be more Beautiful for a winter day, should check the bus time before you go. Hotel there are a little bit expensive than Yamagata citys . Worth living there when snowing. 5 mins front head to end . Fried Tofu in the head is good. Curry bread in the end great even is always cold
  • Driving to this "in the middle of nowhere hot spring" during winters is an experience in itself and definitely not for novice drivers. But once you get here, you will pat yourself on your back for reaching this destination with some out of this world views. I spent one hour in this place including 30 minutes in a cafe. The place looks stunning in the falling snow with heavy snow piled up on the roofs of the buildings and long icicles hanging from the bridges. To truly enjoy the hot spring you need to book a room at the ryokans and be prepared to shell out a lot of money. I am assuming the good places sell out fast. The parking lot can be a problem for day tourists because nobody bothers to clear the heavy snow in the only parking lot for day trippers. There are some unofficial parking areas on the way and I parked my car and walked for 15 minutes or so in deep snow. If driving in heavy snow is not your cup of tea, get off the train at Oishida station and take a Bus to the Ginzan springs.
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