Shirahone Hot Spring
Shirahone is a well known Hot Spring in the Alps, near Kamikochi. The milky white water is supposed to be good for a staggering number of illnesses, but recently became even better known for being "fake" (something about the water source moving and it needing to be pepped up?!).
There are nevertheless 13 hotels here, which accept non-resident bathers during the day (usually before 3pm). The public open air pool gives you a really good view of the road you drove in on, about to collapse into the ravine! To get to the public pool, lean over the fence & look down - steps lead down 100ft or so to the ticket machine & in you go. It's a really pleasant and off the beaten track little hanging valley, the scenery enchanting and the waters, chemically enhanced or not, very sooting indeed. Well worth the effort, and take a camera.
The drive here takes a while, but rewards you with really pretty mountain views & quiet wooded slopes. The village itself has a few gift shops where you can load up with local mountain vegetables in myriad disguises! The road may be closed after heavy snow or rain. Check locally before you depart.
|Water||Relatively cool – 37–40℃|
|Access||Local Alpico bus from Matsumoto, see http://www.alpico.co.jp/access/route_k/index_e.html. Or, a 90-minute drive from Matsumoto JR train station (Google Map)|