Togura-Kamiyamada Onsen in the southern part of Chikuma City has seven public baths. My favorite is the sento known as Zuishou Yunohana Sento. The temperature and texture of the hot baths is just right for me, while the variety of baths, the elegant outdoor bath area, and the general ambience of the place are all positive aspects.
There are separate male and female bath areas. Usually, men enter to the left of the reception desk, while women go in to the right. However, on the 6th, 16th and 26th of each month, these are reversed for the day. Each side has a large indoor bath landscaped with a variety of big, colorful boulders. If you shade your eyes so that you cannot see the tiled upper walls and ceiling, you can imagine that you are in some hotspring deep in the mountains. Also indoors are a sauna, a jet bath with both standing and sitting positions, and a small cold water bath that is usually about 20C. Outdoors on both sides there is a large bath, gracefully landscaped with stones, and covered with a timber roof. Each side also has a shallow stone bath with a number of sitting and lying positions. Another feature is a large stone slab with water trickling across it from the head position, which is perfect for a snooze in the winter sun. Finally there are what I call “cannibal pots”; ceramic pots for a single person to submerge themselves up to their neck. On the left side there are two hot water pots and one cold water pot. The latter is awesome on a hot summer day. On the right hand side there are two hot water pots.
Both sides are nicely landscaped. Even though the sento is situated right downtown, there is a view up to Joyama. Within the outdoor area, there is a range of well kept trees and shrubs, and some bamboo grass around their base. A deciduous vine that turns yellow and red in the autumn creeps over much of the wall. In the corner is an “accessory” room where you can book a massage for the usual kind of prices.
Apart from the baths, there is also a “self-service” cafeteria with both Japanese and Western style dining areas. They dish up the usual noodles and curry rice fare, but the serves are quite a bit more generous than most similar places.
|Name||Zuishou (瑞祥) Yunohana Sento||Description||Public baths|
|Address||Chikuma City, Kamiyamada Onsen 2-chome 18-8 (Google Map)|
|TEL||026 275 4321|
|Access||From Togura Station on the Shinano Railway, take a taxi (10 minutes) or walk (20 minutes)|
|Operating dates and hours||Daily 9am-1am; Weekend/holiday ‘morning bath’ hours 6am-8am. Open only from 5.30 pm on one Tuesday per month|
|Prices||¥650 for adults (¥500 for morning bath); ¥350 (¥250) for primary school aged children.|
|General information for Chikuma City||Chikuma City Tourism Association and Information Centre, Kamiyamada Onsen 2-12-10; 上山田温泉2-12-10, Tel: 026 276 2241 (fax: 026 275 3678).