Travel Reports

A Hot Spring in the Forest

By Anne Vornbrock. Posted on March 14, 2014


Need a relaxing day trip and like hot springs? Head out to Hirayu-no-Mori hot spring! Hidden among the foothills of Gifu in the forest, it's a little off the beaten track but easy to get to and definitely worth the trip.

A hotel, a hot spring, nature trails and a relaxation space are all available for the weary traveler. It also has a great restaurant, where you can savor a meal before or after your bath. With a hotel on site, you can enjoy a stay in a traditional-style Japanese room, kick your feet up in a more modern room, or rent a cottage for the weekend to really make it a relaxing weekend. No matter the season or weather, you are sure to enjoy yourself at Hirayu-no-Mori.
Hirayuno Mori

(Photo Courtesy of Hirayu-no-Mori.)

The hot spring offers both indoor and outdoor baths — 16 in fact — so in the winter, you can bathe in the gently falling snow or watch it from the large picture windows. From the bright green of spring, the starry nights of the summer, and the gorgeous colors of the fall you can bask in a bit of Gifu's natural wonders while you soak in the hot waters. Afterwards, you can chill in the relaxation room and enjoy the massage chairs; or, if you are feeling up to it, head on out for a 2-km nature trail hike, weather and season permitting. Don’t forget to end the day with great food at the restaurant.

Hirayu-no-mori is very traveler-friendly. With English options, it is easy to navigate while in the onsen, and they allow people with tattoos into the hot spring, which takes away the worry that you may not be allowed to enter. They also offer a website and reservation services in English. With convenient access to ski slopes in the winter, a quick 60-minute bus ride from Takayama or Matsumoto, and surrounded by a forest, it is perfectly located so you can enjoy the natural wonders of Gifu and escape the common tourist routes.

To get to this little bit of paradise among the foothills, take the bus from Shinjuku, Matsumoto, or Takayama, and let your cares soak away at Hirayu-no-mori Onsen. Make your reservation for relaxation today at


Anne Vornbrock

Anne Vernbrock is living in Japan for over several years as an English teacher. She loves traveling and taking photograph.

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