Iwamuro village started to flourish as a hot spring village during the Edo period, over 300 years ago. It is said that the healing properties of its waters were discovered by witnessing a goose healing its wounds in a hot spring there. Its proximity with Yahiko Shrine naturally attracted the pilgrims and travelers. It is also from Iwamuro that Niigata’s geigi, the local geisha tradition, originates.
Even today you are able to enjoy geigi performances during your stay in one of the village’s 11 traditional Japanese inns (ryokan). General fatigue and stress, back pain or even arthritis are all issues that are said can be relieved by visiting a hot spring. Overall health improvement and faster recovery after a disease are some of the many benefits offered by these waters. Iwamuro can be acce-ssed by an approximately two hour shinkansen ride from Tokyo to Niigata Station followed by a 50 min car ride or a 45 min ride on a local train and a quick 10 min taxi ride.
Other than enjoying the hot springs themselves, geigi shows and Niigata’s tasty food, I would suggest that you try exploring the surrounding area too. Several shops sell local products, ranging from rice, sake and vegetables to traditional Japanese sweets. You can also rent bicycles in Iwamuro! So it is very easy to have a small excursion and check-out the many temples and shrines nearby, such as Shugetsu temple. You can even go by foot if you feel brave enough and stop by some of the local sake breweries. The Yahiko Shrine, one of Niigata’s most famous shrines, as well as its beautiful park are only 5 km away. The mountains directly behind Iwamuro also make for great hiking trails, and if you like challenge the mountains of Yahiko and Taho are waiting for you.
A weekend in Iwamuro is a great way to discover Niigata and makes for a perfect health and relaxation focused experience!
Hours: Niigata City Iwamuro Tourist Information Center “Iwamuroya” 9:00–19:00
*Closed the first and third Wednesday each month, and on 12/31 and 1/1.
Address: 96-1 Iwamuro Onsen, Nishikan Ward, Niigata City 953-0104
Mapcode: 190 251 543 *26