Are you tired of the same old boring weekend getaways from Tokyo? Look no further than Odaru Waterfall, the largest of the seven “Kawazu Waterfalls,” located in the heart of the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka, Japan. And if that isn’t cool enough, right next to the plunge, you’ll find the mixed Amagiso Onsen, which might just be the hippest Onsen in the entire country and the best things to do in Shizuoka
Accessible all year round, a dip in the chilly river waters followed by a warm bath at the hot springs makes for the perfect offbeat weekend adventure. You can even take your pick between the indoor and outdoor hot springs, which are part of a complete Hotel+Onsen experience. This huge building features traditional ryokan architecture, and the facilities are a multi-story labyrinth of wooden hallways and sliding doors. It’s so impressive that you might even forget you’re there for the Onsen and think you’re a character in a Japanese horror film.
Now, the entrance fee for those who only wish to use the Onsen facilities is 2,000 JPY. But, trust us, it’s worth every penny! The waterfall Onsen’s, a few mixed hot spring pools, the underground Onsen, the Amagiiwa public bath, and the male/female private indoor baths are all part of the deal. So, you can take your pick and enjoy all that Amagiso – Onsen has to offer.
The waterfall is the real deal. Take the elevator down to the first floor, and you’ll find the private Onsen areas where you can store your belongings. The only rule of the outdoor mixed Onsen is that you must wear a swimsuit. So, don’t go skinny dipping unless you’re ready for a public fiasco.
After that, follow the signs for the waterfall until you reach the exit, and walk the 300m that separate the building from the hot springs. And voila, you’ve arrived at the waterfall! There are several pools of different shapes to contemplate the waterfalls, some covered and some unsheltered. It’s like being in a real-life fairy tale, except the frogs turn into hot springs.
The best way to proceed is to first have a swim in the Kawazu river, which can be a bit chilly, and then jump into the heated waters. It’s even better in winter when the experience is all the more refreshing. So, bundle up and head on down for a winter wonderland adventure!
The Underground Onsen
But wait, there’s more! The underground Onsen is a nice surprise for people who didn’t plan much (like me). Amagiso Onsen has a 30-meter-long underground passage of hot water. Although a bit claustrophobic, it’s an interesting and fun idea that covers half of the height of the passage, a bit over the waist. So, don’t forget to bring your swimming trunks, and get ready for some underground adventures. It’s just you and the echo of your voice, and who knows what secrets you’ll discover along the way.
This place is definitely the highlight of Southern Shizuoka, despite the impressive beaches and rock formations found along its coasts. I went in March, (the famous Kawazu Sakura bloom as early as Feb 20th, so the leaves were already green), there were only six other visitors in the springs. We sat in the hot waters, gave each other a massage, and lost ourselves in the hypnotizing sound of the dropping water. It even rained for quite a while, but that made it all the more exceptional and refreshing.
Q. What are the other best thing to in Shizuoka? A. The seven waterfall hiking trail, a visit to Hirizo Beach, the Ichibu ricefields, the delicious sushi restaurants of Kawazu, and many many more sights along the scenic ocean road. All in all, a perfect weekend trip to find some peace in central Japan.
Q: Where is Amagiso Onsen and Odaru Waterfall located? A: Amagiso Onsen and Odaru Waterfall are located in the mountainous region of Oita Prefecture, Japan. It’s approximately a 2-hour drive from Oita City.
Q: What makes Amagiso Onsen and Odaru Waterfall unique? A: Amagiso Onsen and Odaru Waterfall offer a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural traditions, and relaxation. The hot springs at Amagiso are famous for their healing properties, and the waterfall provides a stunning backdrop for meditation and reflection. The surrounding forest is home to a variety of wildlife, making it a perfect destination for nature lovers.
Q: What are the accommodations like at Amagiso Onsen? A: The accommodations at Amagiso Onsen range from traditional Japanese-style rooms to modern Western-style rooms. All rooms feature comfortable bedding, private bathrooms, and a range of amenities to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable.
Q: What is the best time of year to visit Amagiso Onsen and Odaru Waterfall? A: The best time to visit Amagiso Onsen and Odaru Waterfall is in the fall or winter, when the foliage is at its most vibrant and the air is crisp and cool. However, the onsen and waterfall are open year-round, so you can visit any time of year and enjoy their natural beauty.
Q: Are there any hiking trails nearby? A: Yes, there are several hiking trails in the surrounding area that offer stunning views of the mountains and valleys. Local guides are available to help you explore the area and discover hidden gems.
Q: Can I bring my children to Amagiso Onsen and Odaru Waterfall? A: Yes, children are welcome at Amagiso Onsen and Odaru Waterfall. However, please note that the onsen is a traditional Japanese hot spring and may not be suitable for young children.
Q: What is the food like at Amagiso Onsen? A: The food at Amagiso Onsen is a highlight of the experience, featuring traditional Japanese cuisine made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Vegetarian and vegan options are available upon request.
In conclusion, a trip to Amagiso Onsen and Odaru Waterfall is a truly unforgettable experience, offering a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural immersion, and relaxation. Whether you’re seeking adventure, rejuvenation, or simply a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, this magical place is sure to leave an indelible mark on your soul. So why not plan your visit today and discover the wonders of Japan’s mountainous countryside for yourself?