Located between Kussharo-ko and Mashu-ko in Akan-Mashu National Park, the small onsen town of Kawayu (meaning hot springs river) boasts highly acidic water supplied to the all hotels. You will find a 24-hour free open-air ashi-yu (footbath) beside the small river.
Highlights Kawayu Bathhouse, Io-zan & Tsutsujigahara Nature Trail
Tourist Information Kawayu Tourist Information Center (弟子屈町川湯観光案内所): Tel 015-483-2670 / 2-3-40 Kawayu Onsen / 9am-5pm
川湯公衆浴場 / Kawayu Koshu Yokujo / 3-17 Kawayu Onsen / 9am-8pm / Closed Wed except Aug / ¥250
Onsen enthusiasts should visit this ageing koshu yokujo (bathhouse) and soak in highly acidic water like lemon juice. Bring your own towels and soap. It is closed on Wednesday except August.
02 ECO MUSEUM & HIKING
Kawayu Eco Museum Center
川湯エコミュージアムセンター / Kawayu Onsen / 8am-5pm Apr-Oct, 9am-4pm Nov-Mar / Closed Wed except mid Jul-Aug / FREE / Wi-Fi / www.kawayu-eco-museum.com
This wooden building by the onsen town has displays and exhibitions on the lakes, forest and volcanos in Teshikaga. Rental wears and snowshoes are available. There is also a cafe. Behind the museum center, there are short circuit walkways in Sakhalin Spruce Forest.
03 VOLCANO & HIKING
Io-zan & Tsutsujigahara Nature Trail
Teshikaga’s most popular nature trail makes an hour hike (2.5km) from Kawayu Onsen to the sulfer mountain Io-zan (硫黄山), surrounded by white iso-tsutsuji (wild rosemary).
From 10 June to 10 July, you can join a 90-minute guided tour (¥500) freely. It starts from Kawayu post office at 6am and return to the onsen by a coach.
From JR Kawayu-onsen Station (川湯温泉駅) on the JR Senmo Line, there are seven buses to the town of Kawayu Onsen (10min / ¥290) beside the Sumo Museum (相撲記念館), and timed to meet trains from 8am to 6pm. The last bus from the train station is at 5.45pm.
From JR Mashu Station in the town center of Teshikaga, three buses run daily to the town of Kawayu Onsen (37min) via Biruwa (美留和) and Kawayu-eki-dori (川湯駅通り) near JR Kawayu-onsen station.