History of Yamashiro Onsen
It is said that the history of Yamashiro Onsen can be traced back to AD 725, when the high monk Gyoki, who was then on a pilgrimage to Mount Hakusan, caught sight of a crow nursing its wounds with boiling spring water, and discovered the existence of the hot spring source that would eventually become Yamashiro Onsen. Legend has it that the crow Gyoki saw was a yatagarasu (three-legged crow), a Japanese mythical creature known to have once been a guide for Emperor Jimmu, a creature of the Sun, and a symbol of victory.
As a tribute to this legend, the yatagarasu has been made into Yamashiro Onsen’s official mascot in the form of Spakuro-kun, an adorable yatagarasu with a great passion for hot springs
Soyu and Yunogawa
Hot spring areas during the Edo era often consisted of towns organized and built up with a public bathhouse at its center. Surrounding these public bathhouses were inns, which were often used by travelers seeking the healing waters of local hot springs. Back in the day, neither ryokans nor homes had baths, so this bathhouse was used by both locals and travelers alike. In the Hokuriku region, a public bathhouse is called a “so-yu”, and its surrounding townscape, the “yunogawa” – another name unique to the Hokuriku area.
The traditional hot spring landscape of the Edo era remains in Yamashiro Onsen till this day, and this, when viewed together with its surrounding, more modern townscape, creates a beautiful contrast of the old and the new, and an interesting sight for visitors to enjoy.
Kosoyu is a restored Meiji era communal bathhouse where visitors can not only enjoy the visual spectacle of the building’s period style interior and exterior, but also experience communal bath culture as it was back in the day. The bath waters are changed every day, and only 100% fresh hot spring water is used. On days when the spring water happens to be too hot, visitors may also be able to catch sight of Kosoyu staff doing the yumomi, a traditional method of lowering the temperature of bath waters using a large wooden plank.
How to behave at the ONSEN (Kosoyu)
・Tiles – tiles used in the bath area are Kutani porcelain tiles. Their patterns and designs have been painstakingly recreated according to their originals, and were hand-painted on, piece by piece, by local Kutani porcelain craftsmen.
・Stained glass – a highly popular design feature back in Meiji Japan
・Wall surface – the interior walls of the bath area were painted on using the fuki-urushi technique.
・Rest area – You can enjoy scenic views overlooking the town of Yamashiro Onsen from the rest area on the 2nd floor. Tea refreshment is available on a self-service basis too.
Ko-Soyu is a restored old fashioned bathhouse from the Meiji era. To recreate the nostalgic atmosphere in the retro bathhouse, there is no separate washing space or shower.
－Please follow the rules below －
・Bring a towel with you into the bathing room.
・No running, swimming nor diving.
・No swimming suits allowed.
・Please rinse your body with hot water before entering the bath.
・No soap, shampoo nor shaving in the bathing room.
・Please keep towels and hair out of the bath.
・Wipe down your body before getting back to the wood floor.
・Drink water before and after bathing.
・Enjoy taking a rest on the 2nd floor after bathing.