As part of my research for my new Hokkaido travel book, Super Cheap Hokkaido, I went to a hot spring town that I had been hoping to visit for a long time, Kawayu Onsen. On the eastern side of Hokkaido, it’s pretty much away from where most tourists will go, but could still be considered a tourist town.
You start off with a walk through the forest, or a short bus ride from the Kawayu Onsen station. It’s an easy walk on flat land, taking you via some amazing scenery.
You’ll eventually arrive at Mount Io. Just like in Hakone, steam and hot water is gushing out of this volcano, and visitors can go to the local tourist hut to buy black ‘onsen eggs’.
Once you arrive in Kawayu Onsen, you’ll be greeted by the sight of steams of hot spring water throughout the town, as well as a free foot bath to soothe your feet after all that exercise!
While the town won’t blow you away like some in Hokkaido, Kawayu Onsen is a quiet, authentic and very peaceful spot to spend the day in. It’s a must visit if you head to the east of Hokkaido, and is reachable with a rail pass. Plus, there is even a free foot bath at the station!