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Escape The Hustle And Bustle Of The City…

yuwaku_02.psdA one-hour bus ride from JR Kanazawa station is all that stands
between you and this picturesque hot spring village.Gone is the roar of traffic and chatter of crowds, replaced with the chirping of birds and the babbling hot springs.
It’s no surprise that Yumeji Takahisa, the illustrious Japanese poet and painter,
once frequented this area with his sweetheart.
He is famous for his paintings of beautiful women clad in Kimono.
Of course, his girlfriend was his favorite subject to paint.
This village is the perfect place to indulge in creative activities. No distractions,
just the quiet life with that special someone.

Published: January 31, 2011

yuwaku_09.jpg[Shirasagino-Yu Public Bath House]

Tranquil Spa Village
Yuwaku Onsen

Sadly for me, I drove there by my lonesome to write this article. There is a refreshing lack of convenience stores—I purchased my lunch from a small grocery store While searching for a spot to picnic, I found a gazebo overlooking a footbath next to the Yujeji Museum. As I was enjoying my lunch along with the beautiful view, my eyes caught a series of red flags on the hill. They must be shrine markers! Finishing lunch, I walked up the stone steps covered with brilliant fall foliage and up to the Inari Shrine, where a pair of fox statues stood watch. They must be the guardians of the village.
yuwaku_03.psd[Open-Air Footbath]
I want to take a minute to discuss Onsen hot springs. The village has a Soyu (public bath house) called Shirasagino-Yu, meaning you can take a dip in the Onsen during your day trip. The water is purportedly good for neuralgia, muscular ache, poor blood circulation and more.
yuwaku_04.psdLet’s put it to the test! I moved to the open-air footbath and removed my boots. I wasn’t sure what the temperature of the water was.

It turns out that the footbath is not hot enough for bathing, but very comfortable for soaking your feet. It was a lazy afternoon and I had the place all to myself. Well then, no one to stop me from taking a short nap…

The Gyokusen-Ko

While in thee footbath, I checked the map for the Himuro ice house. I found it near the Gyokusen-Ko lake on. Himuro is a sort of barn-like structure that preserves ice and snow throughout year. yuwaku_08.jpg[Himuro Ice House]Traditionally we hold a celebration there on the last day of January and June.
I shook my feet dry, then put my boots back on. As I traveled through the bamboo forest, the man-made lake glittered by my side. It was terribly damaged in the flood in 2008, but has started to regain its former majesty. yuwaku_10.jpgI started to take a stroll along the bank when a sudden fear ran down my spine. Aren’t there BEARS in the hills?!
We had many bear sightings in the town this year, and although there weren’t any warning signs up, I prepared myself mentally for if I ran into one. Fortunately I made it out of the woods safely—Perhaps they’ve already gone into hibernation? In any case, you should carry a bell with you to scare them off, just to be safe!

yuwaku_07.jpgOn my way back I spotted a white heron resting on the bank. Could this be the legendary bird of the Onsen village? Back in 718, the source of a hot spring was discovered around the area a white heron was resting.

Kanazawa Yuwaku

yuwaku_11.jpgAt the Kanazawa Yuwaku Yumej Museum, you can see Yumeji Takehisa’s works and get to know him better. He lived from 1884 to 1934, right around the period Japan began to modernize. His art is a snapshot of daily life from back in the day. He was also a prolific graphic designer, which may be why his style has hints of modern illustration in it. He cherished women and favored dainty girls. Many of his illustrations feature waifish women. The gift shop sells post cards, books, yuwaku_13.jpg[Yumej Museum]and handkerchiefs adorned with his original art and lovely designs. The impact of his graphic designs remains strong after all these years.

Yuwaku Onsen-Kyo / Map