Updated: Feb 4
Kinugawa Onsen is a hot spring resort located along Kinugawa river in north of Nikko city, Tochigi prefecture. Kinugawa, among Atami and Hakone hot springs, it is popular hot spring resort for citizens of Tokyo, which has 2 million visitors per year.
There are total 32 spring sources and the hot water is 3573 liters/minute. The hot water is suitable to cure burn and scald. The hot springs were not opened to public till second half of 19th century. Till then, only samurai and monks were allowed to bathe. Large hotels and condos were built in 60s and 70s, but many of them started to shut down in 90s and later. These buildings are still remain as ruins. One of the reasons of the closure of the hotels is that the local bank which financed the hotels had bankrupted.
Anyway, Kinugawa is an ideal place to stay especially if you visited Toshogu shrine in Nikko. Then, access from Tokyo became better since Tobu railway started to cooperate with JR East in 2006. Till then, limited express trains were departing daily from Asakusa station, which had bad access from west part of Tokyo and Kanagawa prefectures where there are high populations. Since March 2006, limited express Kinugawa started to operate between Shinjuku and Kinugawa onsen stations. For Japan Rail Pass holders, please be aware to pay a supplement between Tochigi and Kinugawa onsen stations due to this section belongs to Tobu railway.