3. Hinokamiso Onsen (Shimane)
Hinokamiso Onsen in Okuizumo-cho, Shimane Prefecture has long been associated with alkaline onsen that leave their visitors with glowing skin. It's considered one of Japan's three great onsen for great skin. Other things to do while you're in the area include visiting Matsue Castle, arguably Japan's second-grandest original-construction castle, and Izumo-taisha Grand Shrine, which dates back to the seventh century and is believed to be the oldest shrine in Japan. Further to the west you can find Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine, one of the world's leading silver mines from 1526 to 1923, which was just recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015.
2. Ureshino Onsen (Saga)
Ureshino Onsen is a town in Saga Prefecture on the west side of the island of Kyushu, and the spring water in the area’s onsen comes from a hot spring flush with water that’s rich in sodium bicarbonate and sodium chloride. The hot springs here have a history that stretches back some 1,300 years!
While you're in the area you can also visit Ureshino Tea Village and try the delectable local yudofu (tofu cooked in hot spring water).
1. Kitsuregawa (Tochigi)
Kitsuregawa is a historic castle town in Tochigi Prefecture that boasts quality onsen with spring water that’s slightly alkaline and contains sodium, iron and sulfur. It's accessible within about 30 minutes from Utsunomiya, the prefectural capital. While the castle is long gone, you can still visit Maruyama Park, which stands on the site of its ruins, or pick some fresh fruits from the local farms—we recommend strawberries when they're in season!