Matsunoyama Onsen is a tiny onsen village tucked away in snowy Niigata Prefecture. In the vicinity of the snow mecca of Echigo-Yuzawa, which skiers and snowboarders flock to each winter, Matsunoyama has a different claim to fame. Its spring waters are some of Japan’s top medicinal and most pure to bathe in, and the scenery is beyond picturesque come winter when meters of snow blanket the ryokan and hilly narrow streets in Japan’s “snow country.”
At the source, the hot spring is 92 degrees Celsius (nearly 200 degrees Fahrenheit) and is said to be a “fossilized seawater hot spring” formed from 120-million-year-old seawater trapped deep underground. Part of what makes Matsunoyama Onsen one of the Top 3 great medicinal hot springs in Japan is the water has 15 times more minerals than your typical medicinal spa, plus the skin is quick to absorb the water, which is rich in metasilicic acid and helps keep skin beautiful.
Not only will your skin thank you for a visit to this onsen, but the waters are also said to help with healing wounds like cuts and burns and preventing ailments like hemorrhoids and nerve damage. Many of the baths here only use direct hot spring water instead of recirculating it into the bath — yet another sign of a top-notch onsen.
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