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History & character

History of Yunokawa hot spring

History of Yunokawa hot spring

Yunokawa, one of Hokkaido’s three most famous hot spring resorts, attracts many visitors from Japan and overseas in pursuit of a relaxing time. The great healing power of Yunokawa hot spring was first recognized in 1653, when the ninth head of the Matsumae clan, Takahiro (his childhood name was Chikatsumaru), went there for treatment. At the time, Chikatsumaru was suffering a serious disease and his condition was deteriorating day by day. One night, his mother Seiryoin received a divine message in a dream: “Take your son to the hot spring east of Matsumae Castle, and he will definitely heal soon, however ill he is.” She followed the advice and took Chikatsumaru there. He soon recovered completely. In appreciation, the Matsumae clan rebuilt the local Yakushi shrine and placed a golden Yakushi statue and a gong there. This shrine later came to be called by its present name, Yukura Shrine. The widely accepted theory about the origin of the name Yunokawa is that the word is a combination of Yu (hot water) and Betsu (river) in Ainu. Around the middle of the Meiji Period this area became widely known. Until then, there had not been enough hot spring water and the temperature was relatively low. However, the discovery of a hot spring producing spring water with a temperature of over 100ºC gushing out at 140 liters per minute in 1886 opened the way to the development of the present popular spa. As the number of visitors increased, restaurants, inns and stores came to be established one after another in this area. These developments served as the foundation of today’s Yunokawa Hot Spring Resort.

Yunokko Chikatsumaru

Yunokko Chikatsumaru

This mascot character is modeled after Chikatsumaru, the childhood Matsumae clan head Takahiro, who underwent hot spring treatment at Yunokawa as a child. Chikatsumaru, the mascot, has a bright and friendly personality, but is sometimes too softhearted. His favorite foods and beverages are tuna, salted squid guts, coffee-flavored milk and Katsugen lactic acid bacilli beverages, which are particularly good to drink after taking a bath. Chikatsumaru is now publicizing the Yunokawa Hot Spring Resort worldwide.

Access

Yunokawa Hot Spring Resort is located close to Hakodate Airport, the sky gateway in eastern Hakodate. The Goryokaku and Motomachi downtown areas of Hakodate can also easily be accessed using convenient train and bus services or other means of transportation. The national highway along the Tsugaru Strait ensures smooth access from Yunokawa to the land gateway, JR Hakodate Station, as well as the western side of Hakodate, which has many tourist spots. In March 2015, the section between the Hakodate and Akagawa interchanges of the Hakodate Shinsoto belt highway was opened to traffic, and the section between Akagawa and Hakodate Airport interchanges is also scheduled to open soon, which will further enhance convenience.

Comfortalle access!

Yunokawa Hot Spring Resort serves

Yunokawa Hot Spring Resort serves
as the base for a convenient, enjoyable trip!

Please use a convenient one-day streetcar pass.

Hakodate has a lot to offer – from Yunokawa Hot Spring Resort, which allows visitors to relax in hot spring baths and see historical and scenic sites in the vicinity, the Hakodate Station and Motomachi area with many tourist spots, to the bustling downtown area of Goryokaku and Honcho where many people are always coming and going. Why don’t you take a leisurely trip from Yunokawa Hot Spring Resort to each of these areas to experience different aspects of Hakodate?

  • Yunokawa Hot Spring Resort

  • Goryokaku & Honcho Area

  • Hakodate Station Area

  • Motomachi & Western Area

Inns & hotels

onsen

Facilities that offer bathing services for one-day trippers
*The day-trip bath charges include the consumption tax and bath-taking tax.
*The lodging charges do not include the consumption tax and bath-taking tax.

map

Places to see

Ashiyu

Ashiyu

Ashiyu

“Yumeguri Butai” is the name of ashiyu footbaths located right in front of the “Yunokawa Onsen” streetcar stop. It is a sodium-calcium-chloride spring as far as mineral content is concerned. Many citizens and tourists visit this popular spot after enjoying a walk while waiting for the streetcar. The roofed footbaths allows visitor a leisurely time, even on rainy or snowy days without having to worry about the weather. Open daily throughout the year from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Please bring your own towel to wipe your feet after bathing.
●Address: 1-16-5 Yukawacho, Hakodate
●Inquiries: 0138-57-8988 (Hakodate Yunokawa Hot Springs Ryokan Cooperative)

Hot Springs

Hot Springs Hot Springs

Hot springs in Yunokawa, which have long been loved by many people for the high spring quality, boast a huge volume of gushing water (currently more than 7,000 ton a day). During the Hakodate War, Takeaki Enomoto brought injured soldiers to this spring for hot-spring treatment and also to bathe himself. There are also several public bathhouses in this hot spring area which are highly praised by many onsen lovers for being really “hot” baths.

Former Toi Line(Ryokuen-dori)

Former Toi Line(Ryokuen-dori)

This train line was originally planned for military use, but construction was interrupted because of the worsening state of the war, and was not resumed thereafter. On the west side of this phantom railroad a sideway and bike lane were created, and people can enjoy walking and cycling alongside the remnant rail track.

Yukawa Black Pine Forest

Yukawa Black Pine Forest

This black pine forest is Hokkaido’s first shelterbelt, which also serves the function of preventing sand shifts. It was Kumashiro Watanabe the First, a wealthy merchant in Hakodate, who planted these trees he had paid himself. He bought a property near his house and had 200,000 nursery trees sent from his hometown Numazu in Shizuoka Prefecture. The forestation was completed in 1889 after more than ten years of hard work. About 900 black pine trees remain here today.
●Address: 1-7-55 Yukawacho, Hakodate

Kosetsuen Garden

This garden was created by the Iwafune family, a wealthy merchant family in Hakodate, around 1898, and was turned into an authentic Japanese garden in 1920 by a gardener from Kyoto. In 2001 Kosetsuen became the first garden in Hokkaido to be designated by the Japanese Government as a garden of scenic beauty. There are some 150 species of maples and other garden trees – the largest number of tree species planted in a single garden in Hokkaido. These trees change their appearance from season to season; cherry blossoms in spring and autumn leaves are especially fascinating. During an autumnal event held annually inside the garden, visitors can fully enjoy the fantastic, dazzling view of crimson foliage in this beautifully illuminated garden. This garden also has a brick greenhouse and traditional Japanese-style residential architecture with a tearoom. No wonder it has been loved by local citizens as a place of comfort with many attractions.

Kosetsuen Garden

●Address: 56 Miharashicho, Hakodate
●Inquiries: 0138-57-7210
(Administration Office) Kosetsuen Garden

Shinoritate Castle Ruins

Shinoritate Castle Ruins

Walk about 3 km to the east from Yunokawa, and you will find the officially designated historical site Shinoritate Castle Ruins. Three large jars containing as many as 380,000 old coins in total were unearthed from this site. The hilltop offers a panoramic view of the Tsugaru Strait, with Hakodate and the Shimokaigan coast close by, and Matsumae and Shimokita peninsulas in the distance.
●Address: Shinoricho, Hakodate
●Inquiries: 0138-21-3463 (Cultural Assets Section, Lifelong Learning Division, Hakodate Board of Education)

Sport facilities

Sport facilities

The multipurpose facility Hakodate Arena, which was opened in August 2015 at a location easily accessible from Hakodate Airport, is equipped with modern facilities. There are a main arena with a capacity of 5,000 people, a sub-arena, a gymnasium and multipurpose meeting rooms. This facility does not only serve as a base for indoor sports where Hakodate citizens can enjoy sports to remain fit, but also as a venue for large-scale and professional sport competitions, concerts, conventions and other events that have never been held in southern Hokkaido before, due to the lack of suitable facilities. In late July 2015, the popular rock band GLAY, whose members hail from Hakodate, performed here in an opening event. Nearby the arena there are other well-equipped sports facilities, including a rugby field and a football park that opened around the same time as Hakodate Arena.
●Address: 2-2 Yukawacho, Hakodate
●Inquiries: 0138-57-3141

Enjoy a stroll and a tea break with snacks.

Enjoy a stroll and a tea break with snacks.

After strolling around the street, it’s a nice idea to take a rest and enjoy delicious snacks. Established sweets shops that have preserved antique flavors and confectionaries stand side by side in Yunokawa and are visited by many people who come to try their famous products. The skewered dumplings (sesame, soy sauce and bean paste flavors) of Yakidango Gingetsu feature a stretchy texture, and have long been a favorite, both among local residents and tourists. Wakatake’s specialties include three-color dumplings (Shirohanamame white bean, green powdered tea and Tokachi adzuki bean flavors). Coffee Room Kikuchi and Kissa Cherry are popular for their light-tasting soft-serve ice cream. Feel a little hungry? Then Goto Meat Shop is the place to go. Be sure to try a freshly fried croquette there. Yunokawa Hot Spring Resort gives visitors the opportunity to enjoy both quaint streetscapes and renowned gourmet food.

Trappistine Convent

This convent was established in 1898 as Japan’s first contemplative convent by eight nuns dispatched from France. The present holy shrine was rebuilt in 1927. Brick outer walls, round-arched windows and other Gothic and Romanesque elements are mixed in the impressive architecture. Visitors are allowed to enter the front garden and the material room where the daily lives of nuns who live there and the history of the convents are introduced. Across the convent is Citizens’ Forest in Citizens’ Park, a place where the natural magnificence of Hokkaido can be enjoyed. Inside the park you can find places like Picnic Hill, Miharashi Hill, and White Arums Forest Trail. Don’t miss the view of Ajisai (hydrangea) Field in early summer.

Trappistine Convent

Trappistine Convent
●Address: 346 Yukawacho, Hakodate
●Inquiries: 0138-57-2839
Citizens’ Forest
●Address:
327-1 Yukawacho, Hakodate
●Inquiries: 0138-59-4472
(Administration Office)

Hakodate Tropical Botanical Garden

Hakodate Tropical Botanical Garden

Some 3,000 exotic tropical plants of 300 different species grow in the polygonal garden. You can find unique flower and tree species from the South, including “Ice Cream Tree” and “Sausage Tree.” From December through the Golden Week holiday season in May, you can also meet Japanese monkeys taking a leisurely dip in the hot springs outside Monkey Mountain, a popular spot among children. This botanical garden is a nice place to have an enjoyable time with your family and friends.
●Address: 3-1-15 Yukawacho, Hakodate
●Inquiries: 0138-57-7833

Yunokawa Hot Spring Resort Fireworks Display

Yunokawa Hot Spring Resort Fireworks Display

Fireworks that are set off from the Matsukura River downstream basin colorfully adorn the August sky in combination with the fishing lamps of squid-fishing vessels offshore in the Tsugaru Strait.

●Venue: Matsukura River downstream basin
●Inquiries: 0138-57-8988 (Hakodate Yunokawa Hot Springs Ryokan Cooperative)

Yukura Shrine (the birthplace of Yunokawa hot springs)

Yukura Shrine

Some 560 years ago, a logger who was taking a rest on a hill (now the precinct of Yukura Shrine) noticed vapor rising from a hot spring right in front of him and found the source. Sometime later, his arm was injured by disease. Remembering the hot spring he had found, he went there for treatment. He soon recovered. In appreciation he carved a Yakushi statue and built a shrine for it. This is the origin of Yukawa Shrine and Yunokawa hot springs. This shrine is dedicated to the Oonakamuchinokami and Sukunahikonanokami deities who are said to have created and governed Japan. These deities are known for their unlimited power to offer divine benefits, including bumper crops, household safety, health and longevity, as well as matchmaking, conjugal affection, safe childbirth and children’s growth. This shrine has long been loved by many local residents as their source of peace. The precinct has many places and things to see, including the monument as the birthplace of Yunokawa hot springs, a sacred yew tree that is the oldest tree in Yunokawa, the Musubi (matchmaking) ginkgo and the big Yukura ginkgo, the Nadeusagi sacred rabbit and the Kaiun (lucky) gavel. Experience the history of Yunokawa in an awe-inspiring atmosphere.
●Address: 2-28-1 Yukawacho, Hakodate
●Inquiries: 0138-57-8282

Yukura Shrine
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