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Onsen Legends: Delving into traditional hot springs and the mystical stories surrounding them


Onsens, or traditional Japanese hot springs, have been a cornerstone of Japanese culture for centuries. Besides being a relaxing pastime, onsens are also steeped in mystical stories and legends that contribute to their allure. In this post, we will explore some of the most intriguing onsen legends and the stories behind them.

The Legend of Kusatsu Onsen

Kusatsu Onsen is a famous hot spring located in Gunma Prefecture, Japan. According to legend, a wounded white crane fell into the hot spring, but instead of being hurt further by the heat, it was miraculously healed. This led the locals to believe that the hot spring had healing properties, and it soon became a popular destination for anyone seeking relief from a variety of ailments.

The Legend of Beppu Onsen

Beppu Onsen is one of the most famous onsen resorts in Japan, known for its unique hot springs that range in color from white to brown to black. According to legend, a young girl named Kanna was saved from drowning by a white snake. The snake guided her to a hot spring, where she bathed and was miraculously healed. To this day, the hot spring is known as “The Hell of Beppu” and is said to have healing powers.

The Legend of Yumura Onsen

Yumura Onsen is located in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, and is known for its high levels of radium in its waters. According to legend, a young girl named Yumeko visited the hot spring and bathed in its waters. After her bath, her hair and skin glowed with a strange light, and she was said to have been cured of a chronic illness. Her miraculous healing was attributed to the radium in the hot spring.

The Legend of Noboribetsu Onsen

Noboribetsu Onsen is a popular hot spring resort in Hokkaido, Japan, known for its sulfurous waters and scenic views. According to legend, a woman named Kuzuyuho once lived in the area and was known for her beauty. However, she fell ill and lost her beauty. She prayed to the gods for help and was directed to a hot spring, where she soaked in its waters and regained her beauty. To this day, people flock to Noboribetsu Onsen in search of its restorative powers.


These are just a few of the many onsen legends that have been passed down through generations in Japan. Whether or not you believe in the healing powers of these hot springs, there is no denying their mesmerizing beauty and the sense of calm they bring to anyone who visits them.
Cultural Heritage