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Ikaho Onsen

Ikaho Onsen

Ikaho Onsen (伊香保温泉) is located on the slopes of Mount Haruna on the eastern side. It is a hot springs town that is known as one of the four famous onsens in Gunma. It is said that this onsen was first established in the 7th century. The content of the springs in Ikaho Onsen consists of sulfate and carbonic acid. There are two types of hot springs to enjoy which are Kogane no Yu (Golden Water) and Shirogane no Yu (Silver Water). The Kogane no Yu can be identified by the oxidized iron in the water that gives it this brownish red color. It is said that the water is effective in improving blood circulation, cure illnesses and injuries. The Shirogane no Yu was recently discovered gushing out in the area and is characterized by the transparent color. The water from this onsen are said to help with recuperation from illnesses, improving health and relieving fatigue. The concentration content of these springs is so high that the towels sometimes are dyed red because of the reaction with the water.

After enjoying the therapeutic waters, you can venture out and see the Kajika Bridge, which is beautiful around the autumn season. Situated in the center of the town is the iconic Ikaho Stone Steps that lead to the top of the main hill. There are 365 steps and stretches over 300 meters. Ikaho Sekisho was a former checkpoint in the Edo Period and is located at the bottom of the stairs. It is free to enter the building and the gate has been rebuilt to look like the original. Along the way there are many restaurants and souvenir shops to stop by. Halfway up the stairs there is the Kishigon Ryokan where a free foot bath is available outside the inn. Ikaho Onsen is said to be the birthplace of hot spring manju. It is a steamed bun with red bean paste inside that is cooked using the water from the onsen. The area at the top of the stairs has the Ikaho Shrine, which is said to have been founded over 1000 years ago.