Have you ever experienced a hot spring (onsen) in Japan before? For those that have, my guess is that perhaps you may have never experienced one like Yuda Onsen before. Yuda Onsen hot spring is an ancient spring which has been in existence since the year 1200 and also since 1459 the hot spring has been a part of local customs in the ordinance of the Ouchi clan. The Yuda Onsen hot spring is well-known for its association with the “white fox legend”.
The legend has it that the Yuda Onsen hot spring was discovered approximately 800 years ago when a white fox was spotted washing its wound in the hot spring. There was a small pond at the foot of Mt. Kongen that belonged to the Buddhist Kongenyama temple, which the white fox used every evening to try and heal its wounded foot. Amazed by this observation, the head priest of the Kongenyama temple ventured down to the pond and scooped some water up with his hand, and to his surprise, the water was warm. He then plunged his hand deeper into the water and felt the rushing flow of warm water gushing out from the base of the pond. His amazement did not stop there, however, as he soon discovered a Yakushi Nyorai Buddha golden statue which also appeared from underneath the water.
Since the discovery, the pond was popularly known as white fox hot springs, as well as a place where people with various illnesses would bathe in the hot spring and pray to Buddha.
The Yuda Onsen hot spring is well-known for being gentle on the skin because the water is alkaline based. It is also believed to help in treating different ailments which include joint pain, muscular pain, bruises, the stiffness of joints, neuralgia, frozen shoulder, motor paralysis, chronic digestive disorder, poor circulation, joint sprains, fatigue recovery, and after illness recuperation. The Yuda Onsen hot spring is characterized with pH9.14 which is believed to help make the skin soft and smooth. There are also several free foot spas to enjoy too!
However, please note that in accordance with the Ouchi clan laws and regulations since 1459, men are prohibited from entering the hot spring at night, only women are allowed at night.
The Yuda Onsen hot spring is now a great tourist attraction for any time of the year. The town of Yudaonsen is blessed with other hot springs where you can soothe your feet and body with the legendary hot spring. So, if you have the opportunity to visit Yuda Onsen, please be sure to experience the entire package by drinking the water too to maximize its healing properties!
Yuda Onsen Website*Japanese Only