Takaragawa Onsen is loads of fun, despite its being over-commercialized and even a bit weird. For starters, it is giant -- one of the biggest if not the biggest outdoor konyoku rotenburo in Japan. Massive pools take up much of both sides of the riverbank, and there's a restaurant, a women-only bath, and an inn all close by. Don't come here expecting to be the only person in a pristine bath, but you'll find that the baths are so large that you can wade off to a less frequented section if you want some privacy. The water is nice and hot, and in autumn, when the leaves are changing color or in winter when there's a bit of snow, this place is well worth the trip to get here.
Takaragawa Onsen is a bit of a trek -- a long bus or car ride along twisty, mountainous roads. In winter it can be icy, so take special care of road conditions. Another curious aspect of this place is the almost museum-like entryway where hundreds of miscellaneous items have been stored. Farm tools, stuffed animals, old children's games, you name it, it's all here -- curious or even a bit creepy. And don't forget to pick out a freebie item when you buy your entry ticket. You get your choice of five different calibers of trinkets (some would say cr*p) when you pick a number from the box. Definitely, Takaragawa Onsen is not the most peaceful of spots, but it is surely one of the more memorable places you will visit on any onsen tour.
Recommend an Onsen!
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