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

Shimosuwa Onsen Yusen House Koyu

Shimosuwa Onsen Yusen House Koyu

3477, Kinoshita, Shimosuwa Town, Suwa District, Nagano Pref.

A bathhouse with a waterfall shower and an open-air bath. You can easily enjoy "Watanoyu", that is one of the Three Ancient Onsen in Japan.

Shimosuwa Onsen Yusen House Koyu indoor bath
Shimosuwa Onsen Yusen House Koyu exterior Shimosuwa Onsen Yusen House Koyu open-air bath Shimosuwa Onsen Watanoyu stone monument

One of the sources is "Watanoyu" (means "hot water of cotton") which is one of the Three Ancient Onsen in Japan. There is a legend that hot water came from the place where the goddess put the cotton for makeup. A bathhouse where the former Koyu (which had a reputation for being blessed with children) has been reborn.

A popular and relaxing atmosphere. In addition to the open-air bath, there is also a waterfall shower, which is rare for a bathhouse.

Traditional buildings such as Suwa Taisha Akimiya and Shimosuwa-juku Honjin are nearby. You can enjoy a little historical trip within walking distance.


Rating of access

1.0 pt(from Shinjuku)

1.5 pt(from Nagoya)

→ How to rate access

Area / Railway

Koshinetsu Region
Nagano Pref.

JR Chuo Line


Route from Tokyo (Shinjuku)
  • Shinjuku Sta.Keio: 1 hr Keio Line ¥ 370
  • Takao Sta.JR: 3 hrs 10 min Chuo Line ¥ 2,640
  • Shimosuwa Sta.Walk: 12 min 0.9 km (0.6 mi) Max difference in elevation: 22 m (72 ft)
  • Yusen House Koyu
Route from Tokyo (Shinjuku)
  • Shinjuku Sta.JR: 4 hrs 05 min Chuo Line ¥ 3,740
  • Shimosuwa Sta. Loop-line Bus Azami-go: 4 min Hagikura Hoshigaoka Line (Going to Machiyashiki first) ¥ 150
  • Yudasakaue Bus StopWalk: 1 min 0.1 km (0.1 mi)
  • Yusen House Koyu
Route from Tokyo (Shinjuku)
  • Shinjuku Sta.JR express: 2 hrs 30 min Azusa etc. Reserved seat¥ 5,980
  • Shimosuwa Sta. Loop-line Bus Azami-go: 10 min Takagi Takahama Line (CW) ¥ 150
  • Suwa Taisha Akimiya-mae Bus StopWalk: 2 min 0.2 km (0.1 mi)
  • Yusen House Koyu
Route from Tokyo (Shinjuku)
  • Shinjuku Sta. (New South Gate) Walk: 2 min
  • Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal (4th floor) Expressway bus: 3 hrs 13 - 25 min Suwa Okaya Line ¥ 3,500
  • Shimosuwa Sta.Walk: 4 min 0.3 km (0.2 mi)
  • Tomonomachi Parking Lot Bicycle rental: 5 min ¥ 100 for 1 hr
    0.6 km (0.4 mi)
  • Yusen House Koyu
Route from Nagoya
  • Nagoya Sta.JR: 3 hrs 40 min Chuo-nishi Line ¥ 3,410
  • Shimosuwa Sta.(The rest is the same as above)
Route from Nagoya
  • Nagoya Sta.JR express: 2 hrs Shinano etc. Non-reserved seat¥ 5,610
  • Shiojiri Sta.JR: 20 min Chuo Line ¥ -
  • Shimosuwa Sta.(The rest is the same as above)
Route from Nagoya
  • Nagoya Sta.Walk: 5 min
  • Meitetsu Bus Center (3rd floor) Expressway bus: 2 hrs 55 min Matsumoto Nagano Line ¥ 2,800 - ¥ 3,800
  • Naganodo Okaya Bus StopWalk: 35 min 2.6 km (1.6 mi)
  • Arayashiki Bus StopSWAN Bus: 28 min Soto-mawari Line ¥ 150
  • Taishadori Yotsukado Bus StopWalk: 8 min 0.6 km (0.4 mi) Max difference in elevation: 20 m (66 ft)
  • Yusen House Koyu
Routes from Tokyo
  • Shinjuku
  • Keio
  • Takao
  • JR
  • Shimosuwa
  • Walk
  • hot spring
  • 4 hrs 22 min ¥ 3,010

  • Shinjuku
  • JR
  • Shimosuwa
  • Bus
  • hot spring
  • 4 hrs 10 min ¥ 3,890

  • Shinjuku
  • JR express
  • Shimosuwa
  • Bus
  • hot spring
  • 2 hrs 42 min ¥ 6,130

  • Shinjuku
  • Expressway bus
  • Shimosuwa
  • Bicycle rental
  • hot spring
  • 3 hrs 24 - 36 min ¥ 3,600

Routes from Nagoya
  • Nagoya
  • JR
  • Shimosuwa
  • (The rest is the same as above)
  • 3 hrs 40 min+ ¥ 3,410+

  • Nagoya
  • JR express
  • Shiojiri
  • JR
  • Shimosuwa
  • (The rest is the same as above)
  • 2 hrs 20 min+ ¥ 5,610+

  • Nagoya
  • Expressway bus
  • Naganodo Okaya
  • Walk
  • Arayashiki
  • Bus
  • Taishadori Yotsukado
  • Walk
  • hot spring
  • 4 hrs 11 min ¥ 2,950 - ¥ 3,950

  • The price of JR Express is "Base fare" plus "Express charge". (These are determined according to the distance.) In case of JR Express on Chuo Line, "Express charge" has two types: "Reserved seat" and "Undecided seat". Both have the same charge, which do not change depending on the season. However, the price will vary depending on where you buy. (Internet < Station < Inside the car). If you have an "Undecided seat" ticket, you can sit in any vacant seat, but you have no priority. So, if someone comes who has a "Reserved seat" ticket for the seat you are sitting, you have to give up the seat to him / her.
  • Other JR Express than the above, "Express charge" has two types: Reserved seat and Non-reserved seat. Reserved seat charge adds ¥930 (during the busiest season), ¥730 (during the busy season), ¥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 Busiest / Busy / Normal / Off season calendar.)
  • Loop-line Bus Azami-go and SWAN Bus sell one-day unlimited ride ticket (¥300 for adults) on the bus.
  • The rental bicycles at the Tomonomachi parking lot are equipped with an electric assist, and identification is required. From March to October, reception hours are from 9:00 to 16:00 (return until 17:00). From November to February, reception hours are from 9:00 to 15:30 (return until 16:30). It is 100 yen per hour (500 yen for E-BIKE). For reservations and inquiries, call 0266-27-0005 or 0266-27-1111. In addition, also "Shimosuwa Konjakukan Oideya" has a similar bicycle rental service. For reservations and inquiries, call 0266-27-0001.
  • 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 Yusen House Koyu

(Directions from Shimosuwa Sta.)
  1. Go straight north from the station.
  2. Turn right at the T-junction.
  3. Turn left in front of Suwa Taisha Akimiya and enter the old Nakasendo road.

bus stop: bus stop

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.

(→ Continuation from Tanganoyu)
This time, Nishi-san and Kita-san are visiting to Shimosuwa Onsen. After the lunch and coffee break, they've headed to Yusen House Koyu.

Yusen House Koyu exterior, Shimosuwa Onsen


Hmmm, what should I say ...

That doesn't look cool.

I think so too. Is it some years old?

It looks a little old. ... Hmm? Ah, this is the Onbashira festival.

Yusen House Koyu ceramic plate painting beside the entrance, Shimosuwa Onsen

Ceramic plate painting beside the entrance

Oh, that's right. Suwa is famous for the Onbashira festival.

And, there are pillars at the four corners of a small shrine in the town.

That's how important Onbashira is.

Yusen House Koyu entrance, Shimosuwa Onsen


They've got in.

Well, it's been a while since this was built, right?


Nishi-san and Kita-san heading to the bathing room at once.

Yusen House Koyu indoor bath, Shimosuwa Onsen

Indoor bath

It's really steaming ... Oh! It's surprisingly big!

Really. There is a waterfall shower, too. They're doing their best for a bathhouse.

After kakeyu (hot water for washing off before bathing), they immediately entered the bathtub.

It's hot!

Oh, it's so hot as expected ...

Is this as hot as Tanganoyu?

It feels like the temperature is lower than Tanganoyu, but ... well, it's so hot.

Onbashira Festival of Suwa Taisha is held every six years, in the year of the tiger and the year of the monkey. However, since it is expressed by japanese counting, it is said to be "once per seven years."

I wonder if people in Suwa like so hot water ...

Well, not only in Suwa, there are many onsen where water is very hot in the communal bathhouses for the locals. ... Oh, there are Yunohana. After all, it's a good hot water ...

Even with good hot water, it's too hot to soak in slowly ... How about this waterfall shower? Hmmm, well, this is a temperature that is easy to enter.

Nishi-san has soaked in theindoor bath, and Kita-san has got in and out the waterfall shower for a while. Then they goes out to the open-air bath.

Yusen House Koyu open-air bath, Shimosuwa Onsen

Open-air bath

Oh, the open-air bath has a normal temperature setting!

Exactly. It feels lukewarm after taking the indoor bath.

I can't see the scenery from this open-air bath, but I'm grateful that there is an open-air bath.

The temperature of each bathtub:
Indoor bath 43 - 44 ℃ (109 - 111 ℉)
Waterfall shower 42 ℃ (108 ℉)
Open-air bath about 41 ℃ (106 ℉).

Yusen House Koyu hot water spout in the open-air bath, Shimosuwa Onsen

Hot water spout in the Open-air bath

Oh, the open-air bath has Yunohana too. This is better than I expected.

The source here is "hot water of cotton", right? Is it because the hot water is as soft as cotton?

No, I don't think the name comes from, but it's actually soft water, so as a result, it's just like the name.

The temperature of the open-air bath is just right, so I'm relieved.

Nishi-san and Kita-san came out of the bath.

Onsen ranking, Shimosuwa Onsen

Onsen ranking in Edo period

Oh, what is this? It says Ozeki or Sekiwake like Sumo ...

It ranks hot springs all over Japan in a sumo style. In short, it's a hot spring ranking in the Edo period.

Wow! Suwa Onsen is the 3rd place! The ranking is pretty high.

Suwa Onsen has been a famous hot spring since the Edo period.

Well, famous hot spring ... You know, it's too hot to soak in slowly, though ...

Stone monument of hot water of cotton, Shimosuwa Onsen

Stone monument of Watanoyu (hot water of cotton)

While looking at the hot spring ranking and talking about where to go next, Nishi-san and Kita-san spent a while relaxing in the break room of Yusen House Koyu.

(December 2019)

There were Yunohana in both the indoor and open-air baths on this day. But it seems that Yunohana is not always there because the regular customers had a conversation saying, "There were Yunohana today".

Impression & rating

Although it is circulating, it seems that there are many Yunohana depending on the day, so you can fully enjoy the goodness of "hot water of cotton".

1.5 pt

Impression & rating

The temperature of the open-air bath is just right. Although it is old, it has a lot of facilities for a communal bath, such as a waterfal shower.

1.0 pt

→ How to rate

The Onsen facility

3477, Kinoshita, Shimosuwa Town, Suwa District, Nagano Pref.
domestic: 0266-28-0823
international: +81-266-28-0823
Yusen House Koyu (Shimosuwa Tourism Association)
Bathing hours
5:30 - 22:00
(Last entry at 21:30)
Regular holiday
Open all year round
Adults: ¥ 240 / Elementary school students and under: ¥ 120
Gender-separated indoor bath, Gender-separated semi-open-air bath
There is a shoes box (required 100 yen coin, return type)
There is a locker at the undressing room (required 100 yen coin, charged)
No soap, shampoo etc.

The hot spring data
(According to hot spring analysis report etc.)

(Survey date: Jul. 22, 2011)

Spring quality
Simple hot spring (Hypotonic Week alkaline High temperature spring)
Mixed spring of Watanoyu source and Tanga No.1 source
Spring out spot
Watanoyu source:
3497, Shimosuwa Town, Suwa District, Nagano Pref.
Tanga No.1 source:
3442-1, Shimosuwa Town, Suwa District, Nagano Pref.
57.5 ℃ (135.5 ℉)
[air temperature: 28 ℃ (82.4 ℉)]
pH value
Total ingredients
0.9414 g / kg
Almost colorless and clear, with a slight salty taste and a slight hydrogen sulfide odor.

Today Beer

Shinshu Suwa Roman Beer

Shinshu Suwa Roman Beer

(From left: Rindo [Alto type], Shirakaba [Kolsch type], Kuroyuri [Stout type])

Sake Brewery "Reijin" in Suwa is, of course, famous for sake, but it makes local craft beer too. According to the official website, "Suwa Roman" is a premium craft beer that is used Suwa hot spring water. I had no idea at all what is different by using Suwa Onsen water for sake making, but I felt the coffee-like flavor in "Kuroyuri", and I really like it.

(¥ 367 / 350 ml) (→ Sake Brewery Reijin website)

  • 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.