For more than a thousand years, Japanese holiday makers have been coming to Yamashiro and Yamanaka to sooth body and mind in their warm therapeutic waters. Two of the most celebrated hot spring resorts on the Kaga onsen circuit, the towns lie next to each other between the mountains and the sea in pretty countryside locales.

Both springs are said to have been discovered by the influential Buddhist priest Gyoki and the old ryokans and the traditional houses that sprung up around the waters have retained their authentic design with red latticework. You’ll be transported back in time to historical Japan.

The area has a rich heritage of craftsmanship, producing colourful Kutaniyaki porcelain, woodwork, lacquerware and saki and various stores offer hands-on craft making activities. While your hotels will have their own facilities, make sure you go to see the traditional public baths in each town’s centre.

What to do

  • Try Yamanaka saki
  • Visit the Kutaniyaki Exhibition Hall in Yamashiro
  • Take a pottery class