Fukui Prefecture is dotted with attractive hot springs, including hot spring villages that make use of the natural scenery and atmospheric hot spring villages with multiple hot spring sources. Among them, there is also a facility with the motif of a hot spring inn that appears in the movie "Spirited Away".
We have put together a list of recommended hot springs in Fukui along with sightseeing spots, so that you can thoroughly examine them and find your favourite hot spring!
Awara Onsen: Fukui's Largest Hot Spring Area
Fukui Prefecture's largest hot spring "Awara Onsen" (あわら温泉) is located in Awara City, Fukui Prefecture. This hot spring town surrounded by idyllic rural scenery is lined with elegant inns, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Is history dates back to 1883, when a hot spring with a salty taste of about 80 degrees erupted during construction to supply water for agricultural use. There are now 74 hot spring sources in the area. One of the appeals of Ara Onsen is that each hot spring facility owns multiple sources, so you can enjoy different spring quality at each inn. It has been selected as one of the top 100 hot springs recommended by balneotherapy specialists.
Hot spring facilities
The charm of the hot spring facilities at Awara Onsen is the large number of sources. Therefore, when choosing an inn, one of the ways to choose is by spring quality. In addition, there are inns where you can take a day trip bath, as well as a facility specialized in day trip bathing, "Saintpia-Awara", so you can enjoy hot springs other than those available in your accommodation. Some inns also offer a day trip bathing plan that includes meals or esthetic treatments. You can bathe in a number of hot springs in one hot spring area.
Surrounding tourist attractions
There are plenty of sightseeing spots and restaurants in the surrounding area.
At "Awarayu no Machi Hiroba" (あわら湯のまち広場) square, you can enjoy a free footbath at "Ashiyu" (芦湯), which the bath is made entirely of Japanese cypress, and gourmet food stalls at "Yukemuri Yokocho" (湯けむり横丁), where unique stalls with foods such as oden, French, and ramen are lined up.
At the "Traditional Performing Arts Center" (伝統芸能館 / Dentou Geinou-kan), you can transform yourself into a geisha with a kimono service by a geisha. There is also a tatami room experience.
We also recommend visiting the three Yakushido temples (薬師 / Yakushi - refers to Yakushi-Nyorai or Bhaiṣajyaguru, translated as 'Medicine Master') and the Yakushi Sanzon (薬師三尊 - the three Buddhist images with Yakushi-Nyorai as the center image), which were built when Awara Onsen was opened so that Awara Onsen would heal all kinds of illnesses. You could get special blessings such as good health and longevity if you pay a visit!
Awara Onsen holds three festivals a year.
At the "Awara Onsen Spring Festival" (あわら温泉春まつり / Awara Onsen Haru Matsuri) in April, three floats are paraded around the hot spring town: a dance dedication by geisha, a float decorated with giant warrior dolls, a cherry blossom float decorated with cherry blossoms, as well as a drum float with the beating of Odaigo drums.
The "Awara Yukake Festival" (あわら湯かけまつり / Awara Yukake Matsuri) in August is a festival in which hot water from Awara Onsen is poured onto the portable shrine.
At "Awara Togenkyo" (あわら灯源郷) in November, countless bamboo lanterns made from bamboo tubes illuminate the city at night. It is a festival wrapped in soft and beautiful light.
Awara Hot Spring (Awara City)
- Address: Onsen, Awara City, Fukui Prefecture
- Access: About 15 minutes by bus from JR Awaraonsen Station to "Awara Onsen Town"
Mikuni Hot Spring: A hot spring area where you can enjoy Tojinbo and the seascape
"Mikuni Hot Spring" (三国温泉) overlooks "Tojinbo", a scenic spot facing the Sea of Japan with beautiful sunsets. It is a hot spring village with three hot spring sources: "Tojinbo Hot Spring", "The First Hot Spring Source" and "The Fourth Hot Spring Source". Other than Tojinbo Onsen, the other two contain chlorides, which warms you from the inside and moisturizes your skin. Therefore, if you want to go on a hot spring tour, we recommend starting with the simple hot spring Tojinbo Onsen. Soak in the open-air bath while gazing at the setting sun, and your daily stiffness will melt away.
Hot spring facilities
Mikuni Hot Spring is a hot spring town centered on three hot spring sources. Stay at an inn where you can take a day trip bath or use the day trip bath facility "Yourport" to dip in the water from three hot spring sources. In addition to the spring quality, you can also enjoy a variety of bathtubs.
Surrounding tourist attractions
There are plenty of sightseeing spots such as Tojinbo in the surrounding area.
At the "Echizen Matsushima Aquarium" (越前松島水族館), you can observe sea creatures through ingenious exhibits and petting experiences. Especially recommended is the tank where tropical fish swim under the transparent floor. Since you have to take off your shoes to enter, you can walk or lie down freely. You can experience as if you are floating on the surface of the sea.
We also recommend strolling through the retro townscape of Mikuni Minatomachi (三国湊町) and visiting Mikuni Shrine (三國神社), where the main building was reconstructed in 1840.
Mikuni Hot Spring (Mikuni Town, Sakai City)
- Address: Mikuni Town, Sakai City, Fukui Prefecture
- Access: About 50 minutes by Echizen Railway from Fukui Station to Mikuni Station or Mikuniminato Station
Mikata Onsen Kirara no Yu: A natural hot spring modeled on the movie 'Spirited Away'
"Mikata Onsen Kirara no Yu" (みかた温泉 きららの湯) is a retro Japanese-style natural hot spring located within walking distance of JR Mikata Station. A day-trip hot spring facility with the motif of "Aburaya" (油屋 - oil merchant / bathhouse) that appears in the anime "Spirited Away". There is also a red bridge in front of the entrance that is reminiscent of the world of anime.
The pure Japanese-style retro building is fantastic, and the atrium seen from the lobby and the grids everywhere make you feel like you're in an "Aburaya".
There are two types of baths, "Jomon no Yu" (縄文の湯) and "Niji no Yu" (虹の湯), and the men's and women's baths switched weekly.
"Jomon no Yu" has a foot bath modeled after a dugout boat from the Jomon period, an open-air bath where you can feel the warmth of wood, an indoor bath (stone bath), and a far-infrared sauna. “Niji no Yu” is equipped with an atmospheric open-air rock bath, an indoor bath, and a Japanese-style salt sauna. You can enjoy natural relaxation in various bathtubs.
You can enjoy lunch at "Mikata Onsen Kirara no Yu". The menu includes udon and soba, rice bowls such as oyakodon and katsudon, and set meals. The set meal of the day is also many tourists' favourite.
In-house facilities and services
Inside the facility, there are plenty of spaces where you can relax after bathing in the hot springs, such as a large hall that can be used free of charge and a paid private rest room. There is also an acupuncture and moxibustion clinic. You can further heal your body that has been loosened in the hot spring. The shop sells processed plum products and sweets that are a local specialty of Wakasa Town. It is perfect as a souvenir.
Mikata Onsen Kirara no Yu (day trip hot spring)
- Address: 1-6-1 Chuo, Wakasa-cho, Mikatakaminaka-gun, Fukui Prefecture
- Access: About 10 minutes on foot from JR Obama Line Mikata Station
- Business hours: 10:00-22:00 (Last reception 21:30) *Closed at 20:00 for the time being (Last reception 19:30)
- Price: Adults (junior high school students and older) 650 yen / Children (elementary school students and younger) 300 yen / Infants (under 3 years old) free
- Homepage: https://www.kiraranoyu.net/