The Story of Hot Springs in Wakura

“Wakura, Wakura-to, ie-nara nanatsu, shima-ni yu-ga denya, dare ikoya.”

Discovery of the Hot Spring: The Legend of the White Heron

According to legend, the underwater hot spring of Wakura, rare in Japan, was discovered by a solitary white heron.

The history of Wakura Onsen stretches back around 1,200 years. After the discovery of the hot spring around 806 – 810, crustal movement is said to have moved the springhead 60 meters offshore. Some time passed after that, when a fisherman and his wife, who lived in Wakura, rediscovered the hot spring around 1046 – 1053. The couple found a white heron convalescing in the waters of Nanao Bay, trying to heal its injured leg. Mystified, the couple approached the bird… then discovered hot water gushing out of its vicinity.

Its Popularity Soars After Being Called the “Hot Spring of Healing” by the Lord of Kaga Domain

In 1611, the second-generation Lord of the Kaga Domain, Maeda Toshinaga, is said to have had water from the “Wakuura-no Yu (hot spring of Wakuura)” delivered to him to treat swelling, boosting the popularity of Wakura Onsen. Then in 1641, the third-generation Lord of the Kaga Domain, Maeda Toshitsune, ordered the springhead to be tidied up to make it easier to use as a healing hot spring. Reclamation work was carried out to create Yushima (hot spring island) in the bay.

After that, Wakura came to be visited by many people seeking its healing powers, even leading to the popularity of a local song about Wakura: “Wakura, Wakura-to, ie-nara nanatsu, shima-ni yu-ga denya, dare ikoya.” It translates to, “Who would go to Wakura, with only seven houses, if it weren’t for its hot spring?” The song was sung in envy of its popularity as a hot spring resort. Reclamation work continued on the island, and a bridge was constructed.

Then in 1654, when a permit was issued for the building of “yadokatakasegi (commercial facilities),” large “yuzaya (public bath facilities),” “kosen-yado (inns with low-temperature springs)” and “uchiyu-yado (inns with indoor springs)” were built. In 1674, the Kaga Domain ordered therenaming of Wakuura to Wakura to prevent misspelling of the name. After that, the popularity of Wakura spread quickly, and it came to be visited by courtiers from as far away as Kyoto and wealthy merchants, painters and haiku poets from Osaka.

Wakura Onsen Visited Even by the Imperial Family

In 1909, His Imperial Highness, Emperor Taisho to be, visited Wakura for the first time. Since then, Wakura has been visited by many members of the Imperial Family, including Prince Takamatsu and Prince Hitachi. Two types of postcards were made in commemoration of His Imperial Highness’ visit.

Water Quality That Has Won Recognition throughout the World

Time passed, then in 1871 with the abolition of the feudal domains, the rights to the hot springs of Wakura were passed on from the domain to the people of the village thanks to their efforts. Further reclamation work continued between 1879 and 1880, and Yushima was finally joined to the mainland. Moreover, water from Wakura won the third prize at a mineral springs expo held in Germany that year. It was a moment when Wakura won recognition throughout the world. Since then, the village has strived through trial and error to ensure enjoyment of the abundance and quality of the water at all times.

Movie Showing Wakura from the Skies!

Filming Wakura from the skies with a drone! Enjoy Wakura from perspectives that cannot normally be seen.

Water Quality and Therapeutic Effects

The three benefits of salt.

Wakura Onsen is characterized by its wealth of salt as the result of being an underwater hot spring.

The three main benefits of salt

A sterilizing effect for treating wounds and skin diseases

A coating of salt on the skin has an insulating effect that suppresses the evaporation of sweat and prevents chills after taking a bath

The salt tightens pores on the skin, having a skin beautifying effect that makes it smoother

The hot spring is also effective in the treatment of rheumatism, gout, neuralgia, anemia, weak children, chronic gynecological disorders, atopy, etc., and drinking the water is effective in treating gastrointestinal pain, anemia, fatty liver disease, etc. The high quality and therapeutic effects of this water has won high appraisal throughout the world, and in 1880 it was awarded a prestigious third prize at a mineral springs expo held in Germany.

Water quality
Sodium-calcium chloride springs (hypertonic, weak alkaline, hyperthermal springs
2,618 tons per day
The state of the hot springs
Wakura Onsen gushes 2,675 m³ (1,857.6 liters per minute) of water per day from four springheads, of which 1,242 m³ are piped to inns in Wakura by the Wakura Onsen Limited Partnership Company (the only hot spring distribution company in Wakura).
The temperature is 89.1℃ making it very hot. It is colorless, transparent and odorless, and it is a sodium-calcium chloride hot spring (hypertonic, weak alkaline, hyperthermal springs). The indications and contraindications are as shown below.
Indications for soaking in the hot springs
1.Chronic rheumatic arthritis
2. Chronic muscular rheumatism
3. Gout
4. Joint tuberculosis
5. Neuralgia, sciatic neuralgia
6. Neuritis
7. Neuroplegia
8. Scrofulousness or weak children
9. Anemia and chlorosis
10. Chronic gynecological disorders
Indications for oral ingestion (to be ingested upon diluting the water to half its original concentration)
1. Chronic gastric catarrh and hypoacidity
2. Gastrointestinal atony
3. Atonic constipation (drink the water chilled)
4. Anemia
5. Adiposis
6. Scrofulousness
Contraindications for soaking in the hot springs
1. Active stage of illnesses (especially in the case of a fever)
2. Active tuberculosis
3. Advanced malignant tumor, advanced anemia or other illnesses in which the body is severely weakened
4. Serious heart or lung diseases in which the slightest movement causes shortness in breath
5. Serious kidney diseases accompanied by edema
6. Gastrointestinal hemorrhaging
7. Visible bleeding
8. Acute advanced stages of a chronic disease
Contraindications for oral ingestion
  1. Contraindication for oral ingestion of cold salt spring water for gastric hyperacidity
  2. Gastric ulcer
  3. Duodenal ulcer
  4. Nephritis
  5. Nephrosis
  6. Generally patients with edemas
Indications for inhalation therapy
  1. Chronic bronchial catarrh
  2. Catarrh of the throat
Below is a list of Wakura Onsen Tourism Cooperative members who operate inns and use the hot springs. Moreover, water may be added to the hot springs for the purpose of adjusting the temperature, which is very high.
Name of inn
Wakura Onsen No. 5, No. 8, No. 10, No. 13 springhead
Niji to Umi
Hotel Kaibo
Ryotei Hamanasu
Yadomoriya Juen
Oyado Suzuka
Yukai Resort: Kinpaso
Not from a Wakura springhead
Wakura Onsen No. 5, No. 8, No. 10, No. 13 springhead