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Ikaho Onsen

The beauty of Ikaho Onsen is found in its timeless comforts.   Like in its  percolating natural steamy hot spring baths that bubble up from a brook, or through some prehistoric stone wedged in somewhere.   Trees and stones that've been there since forever, and is forever a part of the landscape.   Everything is still there, as I remember it.  
From JR Shibukawa Station you can take a local bus to Ikaho Onsen.  

Pole #3 and #4 are two buses that'll get you there.  But based on my own experience the best option would be to just take a taxi and save yourself time.   Just split the fare between two or more people at around 1500 yen each.   The first time I came here was by car and think that is still  the best way to travel anywhere in Gunma Prefecture.   

If you are looking for attractions, aside from the dairy farm and petting zoo , then I don't recommend Ikaho.  The  sort of people who come here are old timers and people like me who are really into natural hot spas and greenery.    This is the main allure of visiting Ikaho, is that there are so many natural hot spring baths.   The reason it's my second time here is because of just that purpose alone, and it's been five years since I was there last.   Getting there is tough on the knees.    The local bus will drop you off at Ikaho bus stop.   From there you'll have to hike up a very long stone stairway.   

 By the time you reach the top where the  shrine is located, your legs will feel like rubber.   After offering a pray to the local gods, I turned around and took in the view while taking some nice deep breathes.

Along the stone stairways and all along narrow passage ways you'll find shops selling everything from manju to tea.  Manju is a sweet paste filled cake, you can find them all over Japan.   The only thing Gunma is really famous for is great miso and yakimanju, in my humble opinion, but I am sure some smart-ass knows better.  

The water is naturally a brownish-yellowish color because of the iron and calcium deposits naturally found in the water.   No artificial chemicals are added and it's uncirculated water, which means that fresh water comes in and the old water flows out.   Left half is hot water, and the right side is warm water.   Entrance fee is 800 yen person.    

Note:  There are many hot spas on the way up to this onsen.   All of the water is good.   There are no bad choices.  However, to make the hike all the way up to this onsen in the picture is well worth it.   You will definitely experience an authentic Japanese style onsen hot spa.  


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