Onsen, or hot springs, are a huge part of Japanese culture and one of the best ways to completely relax. That’s why so many people prefer to stay at a so-called onsen ryokan (Japanese-style inn with hot spring facilities) during the holidays. As one of the best onsen ryokan in Japan, Shoho is famous for its various wonderful hot springs. There are as many as 7 types of baths for you to enjoy during your stay!
"Utsukushi no Yu" Hot Springs
Arguably the most impressive of these hot springs is the expansive “Utsukushi no Yu” (literally “Beauty Bath”), which was renewed in the spring of 2018. The bathing area is divided into 3 different baths; a semi-outdoor bath, an indoor bath and a smaller silk bath.
The silk bath (the round bath in the photos) is called this way because of its water properties. The micro air bubbles in the water give it a slightly whitish appearance and the negative ions it emits cause your body to relax and turn your skin smooth and soft.
“Utsukushi no Yu” hot spring bath.
Keep in mind that the entry times for “Utsukushi no Yu” differ for women and men.
The panoramic view of Matsumoto and the Japan Alps that you get while soaking your body in the soothing water of the hot spring is simply breathtaking.
In addition to that, there is another bathing area called “Tsukama no Yu”. Outside, there is an open-air hot spring bath where you can watch the seasonal greenery that decorates the surroundings. Next to it is a jacuzzi, whose fine bubbles and ultrasonic waves will loosen up your body to the core and have a positive effect on one’s beauty and health.
Open-air and indoor baths of “Tsukama no Yu”.
If you go back inside the building, you will find the indoor baths. This indoor bathing area is the largest in Nagano and has 2 baths with different temperatures as well as a lower-temperature sauna. With 31 washing places available, there is plenty of room for everyone.
You can use “Tsukama no Yu” from 5:00 until 24:00.
After taking a bath, you can either return to your room or spend some time in the dedicated rest area. The rest area of “Tsukama no Yu” is equipped with massage beds that you can freely use if you want to feel even more relaxed. There is also a special powder room with a lot of amenities for women to use. Complimentary cold water and tea are provided in the rest areas of both “Tsukama no Yu” as well as “Utsukushi no Yu”.
Private Hot Spring Baths
Not a big fan of public baths but still want to experience Japanese onsen? No problem!
Shoho has 3 private hot springs, each with their own style. There’s one with a stone bath that has a modern look to it, another with a wooden bath and a more Japanese design, and the last one has both an indoor and an outdoor bath so you can enjoy both. The private hot springs are also equipped with a changing room, television and massage chair.
Usage of a private hot spring will be 3,000 JPY (excl. tax) for 45 minutes and they are available to reserve from 5:00 until 24:00. To make a reservation, please inquire with the front desk.
If you don’t want to submerge your entire body, there is also a public foot bath in the garden that you can access from the lobby (from 6:00 until 22:00), where you can relax and watch the sun set behind the mountains in the evening.
Eager to try out all these amazing hot springs? Then be sure to book your next stay in Matsumoto at Shoho!
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Getting to Hotel Shoho
Shoho is located in the Utsukushigahara area, approximately a 20-minute bus ride away from Matsumoto Station. To get there, take the free shuttle bus from Matsumoto Station to Shoho that runs twice a day. No reservation is required. The shuttle bus departs from the station at 16:00 and 17:00. It departs from the hotel at 09:00 and 10:00.
If you arrive before or after that time, you can take bus #31 (Utsukushigahara Onsen Line) from the Matsumoto Bus Terminal and get off at the bus stop “Hotel Shoho Mae” (one-way 340 JPY), or take a taxi.