Day trip bathing travel journals to hot springs where we visited by train and bus

Shima Onsen Kawaranoyu

Shima Onsen Kawaranoyu

4228-2, Shima, Nakanojo Town, Agatsuma District, Gunma Pref.

Even though it is free, its quality is great! The communal bath like a cave, that will tell you the depth of Shima Onsen.

Kawaranoyu exterior, Shima Onsen
Kawaranoyu exterior, Shima Onsen Kawaranoyu bathtub, Shima Onsen Kawaranoyu hot water spout, Shima Onsen

This is a communal bath located almost in the river. It has a unique appearance like a pile of riverbed stones. And the pale lighting inside is making the atmosphere like a cave.

Kawaranoyu is near the source, so the hot water is reputed to be of high quality among Shima Onsen. The hot water has a faint rust iron smell and is being flowing constantly.

It is free but well maintained and clean.


Rating of access

1.0 pt(from Ueno)

→ How to rate access train

Area / Railway

Kanto Region
Gunma Pref.

JR Agatsuma Line


Route from Tokyo (Ueno)
  • Ueno Sta.JR: 2 hrs 50 min Takasaki Line etc. - Agatsuma Line¥ 2,640
  • Nakanojo Sta.Walk: 3 hrs 30 min 16.3 km (10.1 mi) Difference in elevation: 302 m (991 ft)
  • Kawaranoyu
Route from Tokyo (Ueno)
  • Ueno Sta. JR express: 2 hrs 05 min Kusatsu Non-reserved seat¥ 4,000
  • Nakanojo Sta. Kan-etsu Kotsu bus: 40 min to Shima Onsen ¥ 930
  • Shima Onsen Bus StopWalk: 0 min
  • Kawaranoyu
Route from Tokyo (Ueno)
  • Ueno Sta. JR Shinkansen: 50 min Toki etc. Non-reserved seat¥ 4,940
  • Takasaki Sta.JR: 1 hr 08 min Resort train YamadoriReserved seat +¥ 520
  • Nakanojo Sta.Taxi: 30 min 16.3 km (10.1 mi) about ¥ 6,000
  • Kawaranoyu
Route from Tokyo (Tokyo)
  • Tokyo Sta.Walk: 4 min
  • Yaesu Dori
    Express Bus Stop Kan-etsu Kotsu
    Expressway bus:
    3 hrs 30 - 45 min
    Shima Onsen-go ¥ 3,100
  • Shima Onsen Bus StopWalk: 0 min
  • Kawaranoyu
Route from Tokyo (Ikebukuro)
  • Ikebukuro Sta.Tobu: 35 min Tojo Line ¥ 480
  • Kawagoe Sta. (West exit) Kan-etsu Kotsu Expressway bus: 3 hrs Ikaho Shima Onsen-go ¥ 2,800
  • Shima Onsen Bus StopWalk: 0 min
  • Kawaranoyu
Route from Tokyo (Shinjuku)
  • Shinjuku Sta. (New South Gate) Walk: 2 min
  • Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal JR Expressway bus: 3 hrs 06 min Joshu Yumeguri-go ¥ 2,380 - ¥ 2,950
  • Nakanojo-eki Iriguchi Bus StopWalk: 5 min 0.4 km (0.2 mi)
  • Nakanojo Sta.(The rest is the same as above)
Routes from Tokyo
  • Ueno
  • JR
  • Nakanojo
  • Walk
  • hot spring
  • 6 hrs 20 min ¥ 2,640

  • Ueno
  • JR express
  • Nakanojo
  • Bus
  • hot spring
  • 2 hrs 45 min ¥ 4,930

  • Ueno
  • Shinkansen
  • Takasaki
  • JR Resort train
  • Nakanojo
  • Taxi
  • hot spring
  • 2 hrs 28 min ¥ 11,460

  • Tokyo
  • Expressway bus
  • hot spring
  • 3 hrs 34 - 49 min ¥ 3,100

  • Ikebukuro
  • Tobu
  • Kawagoe
  • Expressway bus
  • hot spring
  • 3 hrs 35 min ¥ 3,280

  • Shinjuku
  • Expressway bus
  • Nakanojo
  • (The rest is the same as above)
  • 3 hrs 13 min+ ¥ 2,380 - ¥ 2,950+

  • JR Express operates 2 - 3 round trips a day. The fare of JR Express and normal Shinkansen is "Basic fare" plus "(Super) Express charge". (These are determined according to the distance.) "(Super) Express charge" has two types: Reserved seat and Non-reserved seat. Reserved seat charge adds ¥ 730 (during the busy season) or ¥ 530 (during the normal season) or ¥ 330 (during the off season) to Non-reserved seat charge. (For details, please refer to JR East _ Ticketing and Busy / Normal / Off season calendar.)
  • The route bus runs about one round trip every hour between Nakanojo Station and Shima Onsen.
  • You can use the "Oze Card" on the route buses in the Nakanojo area of Kan-etsu Kotsu. The Oze card is like a prepaid card that can be used on some route buses, and can be used for 4,350 yen for a sales amount of 3,000 yen. There is no expiration date, the fare for multiple people can be settled with one Oze card, and it can also be used on route buses such as Tone Numata and Ikaho area. You can buy the Oze card at the Kan-etsu Kotsu Agatsuma Office or on the bus.
  • Resort train Yamadori runs mainly on Saturdays and Sundays. However, there are many days when it is not operating, so please check the operation calendar in advance.
  • Kan-etsu Kotsu Expressway bus "Shima Onsen-go" makes one round trip a day (two round trips in winter). Kan-etsu Kotsu Expressway bus "Ikaho Shima Onsen-go" is operated from November to around May the following year, once a day.
  • Fare for the JR Bus "Joshu Yumeguri-go" is reduced by early sale and advance purchase.
  • The above fares are based on cash. When using an IC card, the fares may differ slightly.
  • The above times and distances are approximate. Does not include transfering or waiting times.

How to get to Kawaranoyu

(Directions from Shima Onsen Bus Stop)
  • Go down the stairs under the bridge in front of the bus stop

bus stop: bus stop

Map and bus stop of Kawaranoyu, Shima Onsen in Gunma prefecture

Click the map to open Google Map

Travel journal of day trip bathing to hot spring


He is an orthodox hot springs lover and particular about quality of springs. He loves the hot springs flowing from the source, the hot water with a presence, and the rustic atmosphere.
He doesn't care much about quality of hot springs. He loves the open-air bath, and prefers hot springs that have visible features such as good views.

Gunma Prefecture is an "Onsen country" where many hot springs are crowded. And Shima Onsen is one of the hot springs in Agatsuma area of Gunma Prefecture. It is a historical hot spring that was said to have begun at the end of the 8th century. To go to such historical onsen, Nishi-san and Kita-san switched to Agatsuma Line at Shibukawa Station. It was around 9:00 am when they arrived at Shima Onsen on a bus from Nakanojo Station.

Shima-onsen Bus Stop

Shima-onsen Bus Stop

We finally arrived!

Oh, the bus stop is a deer. Speaking of which, at Nakanojo Station, it was also a deer. Is there anything to do with the deer?

Hmm ... maybe there is something.

Well, for the time being, Kawaranoyu is ... Hey! Here!

Kita-san said "deer", but it is actually "antelope". Antelopes inhabit the mountains around Shima Onsen.

Kawaranoyu exterior, Shima Onsen


Wow! It's underneath ... Indeed, it's Kawara.

Boy, it's quite a presence. Doesn't it look like a fortress?

If you say that, it looks like that.

Anyway, it's a strange place! If it rains and the river rises, it is definitely going to sink.

Kawaranoyu exterior, Shima Onsen


It may be of stone, so that it will not break for that situation.

I see.

Go down the stairs from the base of the bridge, and the men's bath is on the near side.

Okay, nobody in. It was right to come early in the morning.

It's really free. There's a donation box, but the amount is depend on you. That's very generous of Shima Onsen!

They opened the bathing room door.

Kawaranoyu bathing room, Shima Onsen

Bathing room

Oh ...

What a hell ... I feel it's like getting in a cave.

It's dim, and there's a lot of atmosphere. It smells like rust iron and feels good.

To be honest, I wasn't expecting it because free. But this bath is clean and nice than I thought.

Japanese word "Kawara" means "riverside" or "riverbed".

The bathtub is about 3 m² (32 ft²) in size, and hot water is flowing there.

Kawaranoyu hot water spout, Shima Onsen

Hot water spout

The hot water is a bit hot and fresh.

Well, it's just right to wake you up. It was absolutely right to come early in the morning.

In short, it would be nice to get in and go up quickly. Not a bath like staying long.

Exactly. No shower there is.

Anyway, the outside is bright, the inside is faintly dark and calm down.

Think so? I feel of blockage, so I can't relax well, you know.

Nishi-san Kita-san were talking about their impressions. At that time, one traveler seemed to come. But, as soon as he opened the bathing room door, he turned back and left.

Kawaranoyu bathtub, Shima Onsen


I understand. In this situation, it's hard to come in.

Three people can be in this bathtub, but most people won't come in.

Because I feel sorry to staying long, will we leave now?


For that reason, Nishi-san and Kita-san headed for the next hot spring in Shima Onsen. Even so, it's about a two minute walk from Kawaranoyu ... (→ Continue to Sekizenkan Genrokunoyu)

(April 2013)


Impression & rating

This water is fresh and powerful. It's incredible that such hot water is open with donations alone.

3.0 pt

Impression & rating

The bath is small and not open-air, but has a unique presence and is very impressive communal bath.

1.5 pt

→ How to rate

The Onsen facility

4228-2, Shima, Nakanojo Town, Agatsuma District, Gunma Pref.
(Shima Onsen Kyokai)
domestic: 0279-64-2321
international: +81-279-64-2321
Shima Onsen Tourism Association _ Kawaranoyu
Bathing hours
9:00 - 15:00
Regular holiday
Open everyday
Free of charge (Donation required)
Gender-separated indoor bath
No shower, soap, shampoo etc.
No lockers in the undressing room.

The hot spring data
(from hot spring analysis report etc.)

(Survey date: Aug. 21, 2007)

Spring quality
Sodium / Calcium - Chloride / Sulfate spring (Hypotonic Neutral High temperature spring)
4230 / Otsu 4231, Aza-Shinyu, Oaza-Shima, Nakanojo Town, Agatsuma District, Gunma Pref.
63.6 ℃ (146.5 ℉)
[air temperature 26.0 ℃ (78.8 ℉)]
Not measured (Natural spring)

According to the Ministry of the Environment's "Shima Onsen National Recreational Hot Spring Resort Plan (May 2014)", the spring volume of Kawaranoyu source is 33.2 L / min.

pH value
Total ingredients
2.07 g / kg
Colorless and transparent, slightly brown floating

Today's Ekiben

Joshu Rice Porridge for Breakfast
The appearrance of Joshu Rice Porridge for Breakfast The whole of Joshu Rice Porridge for Breakfast

Joshu Rice Porridge for Breakfast

(Purchased at Takasaki Sta.)

"Joshu Rice Porridge for Breakfast" is sold by "Takaben" - the Bento maker in Takasaki. Shrimps and chestnuts are floating on this rice porridge. It is sold from 7:00 to 9:00, and only 100 meals a day. Therefore you can not buy it unless you get up early. The taste is quite light, but it may be just right as breakfast.

(¥ 350) ( Takaben)

End of sale in May 2019

  • The descriptions on this page contain personal opinions and are not necessarily objective facts.
  • The information may have changed at present. In particular, the charge and price etc. has often not updated from the time of travel, so check the latest information on the official website.

Onsen List

Tohoku Region

Kanto Region

Kyushu Region

  • Fukuoka Pref.