Visiting Ginzan Onsen in the Winter
Of all the breathtaking sights of the deep north of Japan, it can easily be argued that the most beautiful of all is the sight of Ginzan Onsen covered in snow.
With its traditional Taisho Era buildings packed tightly along the river, this small onsen town located deep in the mountains is a dream destination for those seeking the nostalgia of the Japan portrayed in Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away.
To learn more about Ginzan Onsen, please see our full article about it here.
The focus of this article will be to address the most pressing problem that Ginzan Onsen currently faces and a unique solution that they recently came up with in collaboration with the neighboring onsen resort of Tendo Onsen.
From the start Ginzan Onsen had two serious limiting factors that made it ill prepared for the surge in tourists that have come starting about 4 years ago.
The first is that this onsen town has few lodging areas and becomes fully booked almost a full year in advanced each winter.
The second is that its located in a very remote part of the mountains of Yamagata and has virtually no public transportation options to reach it.
The result of this is that its virtually impossible to stay at Ginzan Onsen during the winter and its extremely difficult to visit here to enjoy the winter views if you don't spend the night.
To address this issue, Ginzan Onsen recently collaborated with the neighboring hot spring town of Tendo Onsen located about one hour away.
This onsen town has large onsen resorts with hundreds of rooms and plenty of capacity for tourists hoping to stay near Ginzan Onsen.
Most notably they also launched a limited roundtrip bus service that runs between Tendo Onsen and Ginzan Onsen during January and February for tourists to see Ginzan Onsen in the evening.
Here is the bus schedule below.
3:30pm: Departure from Takinoyu Hotel
4:50pm: Arrive at Ginzan Onsen
5:50pm: Depart from Ginzan Onsen
7:00pm: Arrive at Takinoyu Hotel
While a bit short in terms of the length of time you will spend at Ginzan Onsen, this is still one of the more practical options for visiting this location during the winter season.
It is more practical if you spend the night at one of the onsen resorts in Tendo as this bus schedule was made specifically so that hotel guests can be back in time for dinner at their hotels.
Event Date(s) January and February
Activity Length Approximately 3.5 hours
The Takinoyu Hotel
-This bus service is offered by Tendo Days, a promotional group in Tendo Onsen
-We can forward your reservations in Japanese to them
-Feel free to let us know if you need help with booking a hotel there as well