This three day course takes you to Niigata, Yamagata, and Akita Prefecture’s most famous hot springs. Take a relaxing journey to the scenic Senami, Yunohama, and Kisakata Hot Springs and relax your body and soul. The course will take you to the area’s highlights, such as Murakami village’s Iyaboya Kaikan and Sasagawanagare, Tsuruoka’s Mt. Haguro and Kamo Aquarium, Nikaho’s Nikahotto and Kujuku Island.
Iyoboya Kaikan Museum
The first stop is at Murakami’s “Iyoboya Kaikan”, the first museum in Japan dedicated to salmon. Here you can learn about Murakami’s salmon culture and history. “Iyoboya” means salmon in the Murakami region’s dialect.
Besides several panel exhibitions and a theater, there is also a man-made river where you can view young and adult fish depending on the season.
In Fall, you can view the breathtaking sight of large groups of salmon moving upstream through the glass panes in the observatory.
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Approx. 5 minutes by taxi from Murakami Station
Approx. 20 minutes from Murakami Station by downtown bus “Omawari”
20-30 minute walk from Murakami Station
If you want to fully enjoy its beauty, we recommend the 40 minute sightseeing cruise where you can enjoy the ocean breeze and feed the gulls.
The beautiful 11 kilometer coastline of Sasagawanagare was chosen as one of the top sights of Japan.
On the boarding dock, there are corners with charcoal-grilled fish and sun-dried goods for you to try. There are also many great souvenir shops that carry Murakami’s famous salt, dried foods, and seaweed.
*No cruises operate between 11/21-3/29 of every year. There may be cancellations due to weather conditions.
Access to Sasagawanagare Sightseeing Cruise
JR Kuwagawa Station is the nearest station to the sightseeing cruise. It takes about 22 minutes to reach JR Kuwagawa Station from JR Murakami Station.
- Approx. 15 minute walk from Kuwagawa Station
- There are free shuttle cars you can take from Kuwagawa Station (reservation required beforehand)
Senami Hot Spring
The Senami coast was selected as one of the top hundred sunset viewing spots in Japan. Senami Hot Spring has day trip springs, lodging facilities, and even footbaths. Footbaths overlooking the Sea of Japan are located in the Senami beachfront park, behind Shiomiso. There are also several hot spring facilities that have bedrooms and open air baths where you can view breathtaking sunsets. There’s nothing like viewing the setting sun while relaxing in a hot spring.
This hot spring boasts a hot 95℃ temperature, giving it the nickname “Atsu no Yu”, which literally means boiling water.
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- Approx. 10 minutes by taxi from Murakami Station
- There are shuttle buses available at some lodging facilities (please confirm beforehand)
Mt. Haguro is the only mountain of the three Dewa Sanzan mountains (Haguro, Gassan, Yudono) that you can visit all year round. The Five Storied Pagoda located on the first hill of the climb is the oldest pagoda in the Tohoku region. From the Zuishinmon gate, make the 1.7km trek up the 2,446 stone steps to reach the summit. There are 33 different designs carved into the stone steps. It is said that if you find all of them, you’ll be granted a wish.
There are many ways to access Mt. Haguro, including tour taxis and shuttle buses. Please check the link below to find out more.
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Veggie Time Restaurant Doyuno
Veggie Time Restaurant Doyuno is located at the foot of Mt. Haguro, and as its name suggests, is a restaurant specializing in vegetables. Its menu includes daily vegetable plate specials using fresh, local vegetables and herbs.
Sides include vegetable extract, seasonal soups, vegetable plates, mulberry tea, and desserts to fill you up at lunch time.
Walk through the vinyl “Densho Vegetable House” to get to the restaurant. Inside the house is are shops selling organic items such as cosmetics.
Sannobayashi-121-1 Haguromachi Ichinoyama Tsuruoka-shi, Yamagata-ken 997-012
Business hours: 11:30-16:00
The Kamo Aquarium is home to the world’s largest jellyfish exhibition. The highlight of the exhibition is the “Jellyfish Dream Theater”, where you can view about 2,000 mini moon jellyfish floating about. There are also fun-filled shows that feature feeding sea lions and black-tailed gulls.
- Take the Yunohama Onsen (via Kamo) bus from Tsuruoka Station for approx. 30-35 minutes. Located right next to the stop.
- Approx. 30 minutes by taxi from Tsuruoka Station
Yunohama Hot Spring
There are several resorts located at Yunohama Hot Spring. There are several top lodging facilities that use high quality hot springs and serve fresh local foods. In summer, the area is bustling with people swimming at the beach and enjoying marine sports.
Yunohama Onsen Kanko Kyokai Click here for details
Kujuku Island is a group of beautiful islands that look just like floating agriculture fields. It is Japan’s only island that can be completely accessed on foot and is designated as one of Japan’s natural monuments. The “Island Tour Course”, which starts at Kanmanji Temple in Kisakata, Nikaho, is the best way to view the beautiful scenery while walking (takes approximately 50 minutes).
Michi no Eki KIsakata “Nemu no Oka”’s sixth floor observatory lookout is highly recommended for a great view. The free observatory gives you a great 360 view of Kisakata, with the Sea of Japan to the west, Mt. Chokai to the south, and Kujuku Island to the east.
- URL: Click here for details
- Access: 5 minute drive from Kisakata Station to Kanmanji Temple
Nikahotto, next to Nemu no Oka, has local fish shops and a food court with 100 seats. The food court has a wide variety of ramen, Korean, Italian, and Japanese restaurants.
We recommend the food court pizza made with seasonal Nikaho ingredients.
Also located in Nikahotto is a free foot bath that uses natural hot spring water. On a clear day, you can even view Mt. Chokai while enjoying the relaxing foot bath.
URL Click here for details
Access: It takes about 5 minutes by car from Kisakata station.
Michi no Eki “Nemu no Oka”
In Kisakata Hot Spring town, you can enjoy wonderful views of the Sea of Japan and Mt. Chokai while bathing. End your trip on a relaxing note in Nemu no Oka’s “Chokai no Yu” hot spring. This hot spring is located on the fourth floor, and offers a fantastic view of the Sea of Japan. Because of its close location the ocean, the hot spring water has high salt content, which is great for healthy, smooth skin.