Kaga Onsen (加賀温泉) is a collection of easily and cheaply accessible hot spring areas. Each area has its own distinct feel and is worth visiting even if you are shy about hot springs due to the many foot baths and relaxing scenery and cafes.
Budget travel tips
- Get a CANBUS pass for unlimited bus travel to all the sites (1 day 1000 yen, 2 days 1200 yen). It will save you loads of time and money, and the lovely helpers on the bus take a lot of the hassle of traveling around rural Japan away. Pick one up from just outside Kaga Onsen station, and make sure you get a map in your language.
- Try not to miss out on the free footbaths (listed below), as many travelers walk right past them!
- Bring some lunch with you, as there aren’t many cheap restaurants.
Yamanaka Onsen (山中温泉)
The main shopping street is Yuge-Kaido Street. All the below are accessible by foot, with good maps around town.
The history of hot springs in this town is over 1300 years, and visiting this one will really give you an authentic experience. No fancy pool, gambling areas or massage rooms, this is a true, old-school hot spring experience.
Open: 7 AM – 10:30 PM
Cost: 420 yen
Kakusenkei Footpath (FREE)
A truly lovely walk through moss filled paths along a stunning river. Located along the south side of the river (red line on maps). This easy walk takes 30 minutes.
Free footbath right outside the Kiku-no-Yu.
It’s free to have a look inside, and see some impressive Japanese architecture and dolls. Occasional performances are also on.
Yamashiro Onsen (山代温泉)
Another interesting town to explore, again with a good mix of nature and hot spring town experiences. All the below are accessible by foot, with good maps around town.
Winner of various design awards, this hot spring blends the modern and old perfectly. After a dip in the bath, visitors can relax on the tatami floor upstairs, with free green tea.
Open: 6 AM – 10 PM
Cost: 500 yen (Ko-Soyu and Soyu combination available)
Hot springs in Yamashiro Onsen date back to the Edo period (1603-1867), and this is a great recreation of one of those.
Open: 6 AM – 10 PM
Cost: 420 yen
Hazuchio Gakudo (FREE)
Chill out in this cool little enclave. A few funky cafes, as well as toilets and drinking machines.
Another free footbath, behind Ko-Soyu.
Kutani-yaki kiln museum
See an Edo-period kiln, the oldest of its kind in existence. Hands-on experiences available, so fun for kids as well as adults.
Open: 9 AM – 5 PM (closed Tuesdays , December 31 and January 1)
Cost: Adults 310 yen, Children free
Sazae-do sightseeing tower (FREE)
Take a quiet, easy walk up the hill, via some cool little shrines to this sightseeing tower. Start from the signs around Soyu, walk through and behind the large temple behind it and follow signs up the hill.
How to get there and around
From Kanazawa station, take a train to Kaga Onsen station (50 mins, 760 yen). If you have a train pass, take a Limited Express train (25 mins). Bus companies such as Willer bus can also take you directly there.
From Kaga Onsen station, you can take a bus to any of the hot spring towns. Getting a CANBUS pass (1 day 1000 yen, 2 days 1200 yen) is highly recommended.