Visiting Ginzan Onsen in the Winter

Yamagata Prefecture

The most beautiful sight of the deep north of Japan.

Of all the breathtaking sights of the deep north of Japan, it could easily be argued that the most beautiful of all is the sight of Ginzan Onsen covered in snow. 

With its traditional Taisho Era buildings packed tightly along the river, this small onsen town located deep in the mountains is a dream destination for those seeking the nostalgia of Japan as portrayed in Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away. 

To learn more about Ginzan Onsen, please see our full article about it here

The focus of this article will be to address the most pressing problem that Ginzan Onsen currently faces and a unique solution they recently came up with in collaboration with the neighboring onsen resort of Tendo Onsen. 

Book a bus trip to Ginzan Onsen

What's Included

A bus service is offered by Tendo Days, a promotional group in Tendo Onsen. We forward your reservations in Japanese to them.
We can help with booking a hotel in the Tendo area if requested.

Cost

Round-trip Ticket:
Adults: 5750 yen per person
Elementary school students: 2,875 yen per person
infants (3years old or lower) using seats: 1,150 yen per person

Experience Availability

January and February

Here is the bus schedule:

15:30 Bus pickup at Hohoemi no Shuku Takinoyu
15:35 Bus pickup at Azuma-so
16:40 Arrive at Ginzan Onsen
18:00 Depart from Ginzan Onsen
19:00 Drop off at Tendo Onsen Yatai Mura and Yokocho
19:05 Hohoemi no Shuku Taki no Yu
19:10 Drop off at Azuma-so

Average Duration

approx. 4.5 hours

Meeting Location

Hohoemi no Shuku Taki no Yu or Azuma-so in Tendo Onsen area

Important notes

Experience availability may vary. Reserve to confirm availability.
Please notify us at least 3 days before if you must cancel or modify your reservation.

From the start, Ginzan Onsen had two serious limiting factors that made it ill-prepared for the surge in tourists that have come starting about four years ago.

The first is that this onsen town has few lodging areas and becomes fully booked almost a full year in advance each winter.

The second is that its located in a very remote part of the mountains of Yamagata and has virtually no public transportation options to reach it.

The result of this is that it’s virtually impossible to stay at Ginzan Onsen during the winter and it’s extremely difficult to visit here to enjoy the winter views if you don’t spend the night.

To address this issue, Ginzan Onsen recently collaborated with the neighboring hot spring town of Tendo Onsen located about one hour away.

This Onsen town has large onsen resorts with hundreds of rooms and plenty of capacity for tourists hoping to stay near Ginzan Onsen.

Most notably, they also launched a limited roundtrip bus service that runs between Tendo Onsen and Ginzan Onsen during January and February for tourists to see Ginzan Onsen in the evening.

Bus Schedule

15:30 Bus pickup at Hohoemi no Shuku Taki no Yu
15:35 Bus pickup at Azuma-so
16:40 Arrive at Ginzan Onsen
18:00 Depart from Ginzan Onsen
19:00 Drop off at Tendo Onsen Yatai Mura and Yokocho
19:05 Hohoemi no Shuku Taki no Yu
19:10 Drop off at Azuma-so

While a bit short in terms of the length of time you will spend at Ginzan Onsen, this is still one of the more practical options for visiting this location during the winter season.

It is more practical if you spend the night at one of the onsen resorts in Tendo as this bus schedule was made specifically so that hotel guests can be back in time for dinner at their hotels.

Reserve your Ginzan Onsen bus today!

You can send a booking inquiry for your experience below. After we receive your inquiry, we will confirm the booking with our partners and send you a booking confirmation email at least 3 days before your desired date.
Please note this form does not confirm the availability of an experience or reserves an experience straightaway.

Cancelation policy

Our cancelation policy for this experience is below. Cancelation fees may vary according to exceptional circumstances.

3 days before

15% of experience cost

2 days before

50% of experience cost

Day before/of

100% of experience cost