The first of “People’s Recreation Spa”
Gunma Prefecture has as many as 500 springs, so it is an area that is truly worthy of being called a “hot spring heaven”. Around Shima Onsen, there are Kusatsu Onsen, Manza Onsen and Ikaho Onsen, which are very famous hot spring areas. Under such circumstances, Shima Hotspring Resort in the northern part of the prefecture has long been called “a spring that heals 40,000 illnesses”.
Kusatsu Onsen, which is located in the northern part of Gunma Prefecture, has a very acidic spring quality, while Shima Onsen has a soft spring quality. For this reason, Shima Onsen is also used as a drinking spring, and is known to be particularly effective against gastrointestinal diseases.
It prospered as a hot-spring hotel in the Edo period, and was designated as the first of “People’s Recreation Spa” in 1954.
It is not only hot springs that are wonderful. Shima Hot Springs, located deep in the mountains, is surrounded by beautiful nature and has many tourist attractions. The hot spring town feels nostalgic and heals visitors.
Shima Onsen is located in the rich nature of Gunma. As you walk along the river in the spa town, you’ll find splendid hotels everywhere. However, there are places where the vermilion balustrade, which gives off a unique color, stands out. This is “Sekizenkan” (Hot-Spring Hotel), the oldest hot spring spa in Japan, to be introduced this time.
“Sekizenkan” creates an atmosphere that is completely different from the surrounding atmosphere. If you stand in front of the vermilion bridge, you will feel like you are drawn into it. The main building, which was built in 1691 and has a history of over 300 years, has welcomed many hot spring guests over a long period of time. Open the rattling and slightly heavier glass sliding doors and sit down on the shiny entrance floor of the front door, as if you were back in time to the Edo period.
Charms and Highlights of Sekizenkan (Hot-Spring Hotel)
A modern structure that makes you feel like a Taisho romance
Among the popular Gumma prefecture famous for having many hot springs, it is particularly popular “Shima-Onsen Hot Springs Resort” (literaly, 40,000 hot springs). It is a hot spring named because it is said to be “a spirit spring that works for 40 thousand diseases”, the atmosphere of the townscape can feel retro emotion. “Shima-Onsen Hot Springs Resort” is located in Nakanojo-cho, Gunma prefecture.
It takes about 2 hours from the Ueno station in Tokyo to the new express Kusatsu, Nakanojo station. It is approximately 25 minutes by bus from the station to “Shima-Onsen Hot Springs Resort”. If you go by car, you can go from Tokyo via the Kanetsu Expressway in about 2.5 hours.
You can enjoy various types of hot springs at “Sekizenkan”. In “Genroku no Yu”, bright natural light feels comfortable. There are five stone bathtubs on the tiled floor. It makes you feel the atmosphere of Taisho era, modern construction is attractive. By immersing in a hot spring that will cure 40,000 diseases, your heart and body will be healed. And “Mori no Yu” is an outdoor bath where you can feel a refreshing wind. Shima-Onsen hot water is said to be effective for gastrointestinal diseases. Fountain quality is also so soft that you can take a bath with confidence even when your skin is weak.
Spectacle time-slipped to Taisho era
The Sekizenkan is the Japanese oldest existing wooden hot-spring ryokan (Hotel) in Gunma, Shima Onsen Town. It is sure that you are attracted by a view of the world as an atmosphere full of the emotion with a spectacle time-slipped to time in the Taisho era. It was built in 1691 and is the Japanese oldest hot-spring ryokan with the history of 320 years. Even today, more than 300 years from its opening, it continues healing the heart of people in all ages.
The Sekizenkan registered as a Cultural Properties Designated by Gunma Prefecture is the rare hot-spring hotel which remains an atmosphere at the time of its establishment. In the times when medicine and cure of illness have not been yet born, it is famous that many sick people went to visit to heal their body.
Drinking of hot spring water
It is said that the spring quality here works for rheumatism, locomotorium trouble, a wound by taking a bath, and works for a digestive system disease, constipation, hives, obesity by drinking. This is “drinking of hot spring water” and geting an effect that is few in number even across the country.
An entrance of “Genroku no Yu” is the side of the entrances. The door of the entrance is western-style and it makes you feel Taisho-roman which thrived toward the end of the Taisho period. You open this door, there is the large spa right in front of you, and the dressing room and a bathhouse is in the same space.
One-day bathing service
The one-day bathing service is available, too, you can enter other hot springs as well as the “Genroku no Yu” and a mixed bathing hot springs called the “Iwaburo” (bathtub surrounded by rocks).
Information(Access, Price/Charge, Tel, Address, Official site, etc.)
|Name:||Sekizenkan (Hot-Spring Hotel)|
|Adresse:||Shima 42376 Agatsumagun Nakanojomachi, Gunma 377-0601 Japan|
|Access:||JR Agatsuma-sen Line “Nakanojo-eki Station” (40 minutes by bus)|
|Price/Charge:||Please check the official site.|