Hidden Onsens in the Chugoku Region

Chugoku isn’t really known for its onsen… that honour usually goes to Tohoku or Chubu where the snow in winter calls for a soak in the hot water. But in Chugoku it doesn’t snow so often and the visitors usually stick closer to the Seto Inland Sea coast where there is much to see. However, I’d like to share some onsen in the area for those looking for perhaps a more secret getaway than the more famous springs further north.

1- Misasa Onsen (三朝温泉), Tottori

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(Image from ikidane-nippon)
The name "Misasa" (literally "three mornings") originates from the belief that one who stays to enjoy three mornings in the town's famous hot springs will find all of their illnesses cured. Misasa Onsen is a great place to rest after an intense day of hiking Mt.Mitoku nearby. While  Mt.Mitoku is a difficult climb and as such doesn't allow solo hikers for safety reasons, Kurayoshi city on the other side with its rows of Shirakabe Warehouses may be more preferable for someone looking for a more relaxed day.
There are many ryokans, most of them located next to the river passing through town. Izanro Iwasaki is the most popular one, I'm guessing because of its big nice garden, but they also claim to have hosted the royal family.
How to get there: Take a bus from Kurayoshi Station (倉吉駅) until Misasa Onsen Tourism Information Center (三朝温泉観光商工センター前). It takes about 20 minutes. Here's a timetable for weekdays and weekends. If you're staying in a ryokan of the area, some may offer free shuttle service.

2- Yunokawa Onsen (湯の川温泉), Shimane

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(Image from kankou-shimane)
I chose Yunokawa Onsen because it's very easy to get to and has an interesting legend behind it. Yakami Hime was a beautiful princess in the land of Inaba, now western Tottori. Okuninushi and his 80 brothers were all travelling together from their home country of Izumo to court her, Okuninushi was in charge of carrying all of their luggage. On a beach they discover a hurt rabbit, and the brothers are cruel to it. When Okuninushi arrives, lagging far behind, he helps the rabbit and, seeing his kindness, Yakami Hime falls in love with him and they get married. His brothers were all furious and later got him killed, Okuninushi fell in love with the daughter of Susanoo in the underworld and went through many difficult trials to finally be together, but that's a different story! It's said that Yakami Hime bathed at this onsen, it's also one of the "Three onsens of beauty" so it's popular among women.
How to get there: walkable from Shobara Station on the Sanin Line, between Izumo and Matsue.

3- Yuki Onsen (湯来温泉), Hiroshima

Said to have been discovered 1500 years ago, not only does it have hot springs, but you can also see fireflies in early summer! It is a bit far away from Hiroshima so it truly is a rest from the hustle and bustle of the city. If you have a car, Ishigatani Gorge is very close by, so is Sandankyo, more scenic and great for walking around in nature.
How to get there: The bus departs from Itsukaichi Station (五日駅) just a while away from Hiroshima Station. Here’s a timetable.

4- Yubara Onsen (湯原温泉), Okayama

This option is for the more adventurous types. Right next to the Asahi river of Maniwa is the most popular onsen in town... outside and mixed! It's understandable that this may be a bit intimidating, so there are a couple other places in the area that have separate sections (such as Yumoto Onsenkan 湯本温泉館). It looks beautiful in autumn though and if you have a bit more time you can also stop at Kanbano Falls along the way. If you have a car, northern Okayama has many caves that can be interesting to check out too!
How to get there: Take a bus from Chugoku-Katsuyama Station (中国勝山駅) until Yubara Onsen (湯原温泉). It takes about 35 minutes. Here's a timetable. The bus also makes a stop at Kanbano Falls (神庭口).

5- Yuda Onsen (湯田温泉), Yamaguchi

Long ago, a white fox put his leg into a pond to cure himself and this pond became a hot spring. This story, the white fox legend, is the symbol of the onsen and many white fox statues can be seen in the area, including a very huge one right in front of the station. Because it's right next to Yamaguchi it can be done alongside a visit to the sites of the city, especially don't forget Rurikō-ji Temple and Jōei-ji Temple.
How to get there: Yamaonsen Station on the Yamaguchi Line, one stop before Yamaguchi. If you're coming by shinkansen you can get off at Shin-Yamaguchi Station of the Sanyo Shinkansen Line and transfer to the Yamaguchi Line from there.
Sanbe Onsen in Shimane

(Image from hikyou)

Are there any onsens you like in the Chugoku Region?

Sam Lesmana