Deep in cool Japan

Hidden hot spring "Sugeno Onsen"


Hot spring close to typical old shrine in “Nagano” Prefecture named “Suwa Taisha Shimosha Akimiya”.


It is a hot spring located along an important street, “Nakasendo” which was made in the Edo period ( from the early 17th century to the late 18th century.), “SAMURAI” were there. Although there are two entrance places, both are less obvious and uneasy to aware, do not overlook goodwill or small signboard, please.

Even though it is the hot spring, originally the as home bath of local peoples not for tourism. When talking to person seems like local uncle actually bathing, he says “Although there is a home bath, but not in there without any very special occasions there”.

Dressing room is an open style with old wood boxes piling up, so bathroom can be seen easily out side of the glass door. Structure is simple type with oval bathtub in the middle and faucet lined up on both sides. By heard the story, temperature of the bath can be hot or tepid and seems like quite undefined.


It is the place able to see all the Japanese bath culture.

Spring source name/Tanga Onsen (Tanga Hot Spring)

Tanga Hot Spring is a historical public bath for ascetic monks that was begun and its called Tanga dormitory in Kamakura era. The spire is 52 degrees and the high temperature, the hot spring source has been reported healing of cuts. Also known wounded Samurai warriors used to have it. This public bath was renewed in December 2012 and it became more attractive to people. It has water, hot baths of traditional high-temperature, and also baths of normal-temperature, in addition to the open-air bath recently installed.

Ref. (

Spring quality/Sodium.Calcium – Sulfate, chloride spring (Weak alkaline hypotonic hyperthermal spring)


3239-1 Taishadori , Shimosuwa , Suwa District, Nagano Prefecture



Open: 5:30 – Close: 21:30

Open every day


Adults 230 yen ($2.00), Children 110yen ($1.00)


About 10-minute walk from Japan Railway "Chuo line" "Shimo-Suwa" Station.

Take the Japan railway "Chuo line" or "Yamanote line" going toward "Shinjuku" station.

Transfer to the "Chuo-line", Limited Express at Shinjuku station and going toward Matsumoto station and transfer at Chino station for local "Chuo-line", then get off at Shimo-Suwa station.

About 3 hours from Tokyo metropolitan.


Railway fares: about 6000yen....$50.00 (one- way)

You can get ticket at any Japan railway station's "Midori-no-madoguchi" or web site.

Nearby historical place:



First, you take off your shoes at the entrance and put them in the shoe cupboard. 

You pay the entrance fee to the bandai (reception). 

At the bandai, you can also buy amenities such as soap and a towel. 

The bath is divided into areas for men and women. Usually, the entrance to the women's bath has a red curtain while the men's bath has a blue curtain. 

You have to take off your clothes before entering the bath. 

You also have to wash your body before getting into the bath. 

If the bath doesn't have a shower, fill the basin with hot water and wash your head and body. 


Sit down on a stool when you wash your body. 

Be careful not to splash hot water around you. 

Before entering the bath, you pour hot water on yourself. This is called "Kake-yu." 

It is considered rude to add cold water into the bath even if you think the bath temperature is too high. 


Sit back and relax. 

Please don't swim in the bath. 

Be sure not to put your towel in the bath. 

Dry your body before going back to the changing room


Bath entrance and ticket counter

.Buy a ticket at the vending machine, and passes it in the series that janitor is there. Front side is hot water for men and the other side is for women.


Dressing room is simple style only undressing box of tree lined. Seen right side is scales.


Hot water is poured from the cylinder in the middle of the tub.  Visible in the back is tile picture. Somehow in the pure Japanese style bathroom there is a European resort picture.


Located in the narrow passage and quite hard to find. Hot spring and public bath in this kind of place is unusual. Upon exiting the back Nakasendo street is there. Wooden signboard is vintage written in old Japanese Chinese characters


Written by K. Igarashi

Translated by N. Kodama

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