An Old Style Trip to Shima Hot Spring vol.1 [Aboard the Comfort Bus "SHIMA ONSEN GO"]
Shima Onsen, in Gunma Prefecture, is a 3.5-hour ride from Tokyo via the “SHIMA ONSEN GO” shuttle bus run by KANETSU KOTSU for the reasonable price of 5,100 JPY (round trip / tax included). This first installment (out of five) of the Travel Reports details a short trip to Shima Hot Spring Village, a destination with scenery reminiscent of Japan’s bygone Showa Era.
- “Shima Onsen” in Gunma: 3.5 hours from Tokyo (5100 JPY / tax included / RT)
- Travel back in time to experience the old-fashioned Showa Era
- Make sure to grab a map or brochure titled “YOTTENBE PASSPORT” at the Shima Onsen Association.
Hello, this is Fujiko.
I recently took a trip to Shima Onsen in Gunma prefecture aboard the “SHIMA ONSEN GO” bus.
To start, let me provide a brief description about Shima Onsen.
As you may know, “Onsen” is the Japanese word for hot spring.
Shima is one of three famous hot springs in Jomo (a region located in Gunma Prefecture), with the other two being Kusatsu and Ikaho.
In Japanese, Shima means forty thousand. The name Shima comes from a legend which states that Shima Onsen can heal forty thousand different kinds of ills.
Shima is nearby Naeba Ski Resort, a famous winter sports destination located on the border between Nagano and Niigata prefectures.
The old-fashioned hot spring village lines the Shima river and is surrounded by beautiful nature.
Here time moves slowly, making it one of the best resorts to spend your next relaxing and healing getaway.
Shima Onsen is known for having high temperature water, which evokes the sensation of the body being warmed from within, while also enhancing natural beauty.
It takes 5 minutes to the bus stop from Yaesu central gate of Tokyo Station (on the ground floor).
The bus stop is in front of the Seven Eleven convenience store located on the left side of Yaesu street.
One of the buses has “SHIMA ONSEN GO” written in large letters on both sides.
The bus is open seating, allowing all passengers to get a seat. Passengers usually start to gather and form a line just before departure time.
The cup-holders are so retro! (Designed primarily for slim plastic bottles)
This is where the time travel adventure begins.
The total bus ride is scheduled to take about 3.5 hours, including a short rest stop at the Kamisato Service area.
On the day of my trip, it took a little extra time due to a traffic jam.
The bus just stopped at Takasaka SA as scheduled on the return trip.
After entering Shima Onsen Village, the bus goes up a mountain, continuing on through a narrow road before arriving at the “Shima Onsen” terminal in front of Shima Grand Hotel.
We arrived just before one o’clock and took a stroll through the village after dropping our baggage at the hotel front desk since it was still too early to check in.
Upon arriving it is a good idea to grab a map or “YOTTENBE PASSPORT” at Shima Onsen Association (Tourist Information Office).
“YOTTENBE PASSPORT” lists all of the shops along with maps to aid in your sightseeing.
(100 JPY / Includes discount privilege)
Smaller than general guidebooks, it is quite a handy size.
The village has a cozy atmosphere, and evokes nostalgia for the bygone Showa Era.
In our next installment: walking around the footbaths and public baths.
To be continued.
An Old Style Trip to Shima Hot Spring vol.2 [Enjoying the Restful Footbaths and Public Baths]
An Old Style Trip to Shima Hot Spring vol.3 [Taking a Stroll through Retro Town]
An Old Style trip to Shima Hot Spring vol.4 [Spending Pleasant time at Your Accommodations: Onsen, Tatami Mats & Buffet] with a Featured Hotel List
An Old Style Trip to Shima Hot Spring vol.5 [Local specialties, gifts and souvenirs]