The Samurai Legend of Omaki Onsen Hot Spring Resort

A fight for control of the nation, a fierce national civil war between the ancient noble Taira and Minamoto samurai clans had broken out in 1180 and was fought over the following five years.

In May of 1183, the tide of war finally turned in favor of the Minamoto clan, when Minamoto no Yoshinaka invaded Taira held territory in Shinano (Nagano Prefecture). Yoshinaka used cunning and strategy as he ambushed and defeated a larger enemy Taira army under the command of warlord, General Taira no Koremori, in the night-time mountaintop Battle of Kurikara. The Minamoto obtained a number of cattle, and tying flaming torches to the bull’s horns, directed the stampeding animals into the ranks of Taira troops. The result was utter chaos as armored men fell or were pushed from the ridgelines in panic. The remaining warriors were finished off by the Minamoto forces. Crushed and badly wounded, Lord Koremori escaped, fleeing to nearby Omaki in search of a hideout along the mountains. While seeking refuge along the banks of the Shogawa River, he discovered a hot spring emerging from the riverbank. Koremori is said to have bathed in the hot waters, and was not only greatly refreshed, but his wounds were completely healed.

Some 200 years later, the country was again divided by a major conflict over the legitimacy of the Southern and Northern Imperial Courts. At this time, the negotiator, head of the famed Buddhist Hongan-ji Temple and statesman, Shakunyo, stopped near Omaki where Koremori had recuperated from battle. Soaking in the hot springs, the priest too was refreshed and his spirit re-awakened enough to found the nearby Zuisen-ji Temple to comfort the retainers of the Southern Court.

From then on, the spiritual and healing waters of the secluded Omaki Hot springs and the natural beauty of the surrounding Shogawa Gorge become renown.

In 1930, the 79 meter high arch-gravity Komaki Dam, touted as the best in the Orient at the time, was completed. The original hot spring discovered almost 800 years before by the defeated Taira no Koremori was to be submerged by the dam lake. However, during the dam’s construction, the resort and inn were rebuilt along the picturesque lakeside and the hot springs were tapped to keep the Omaki hot springs resort alive. Being on the lakeside meant that the resort and inn were now even more secluded, as access became available only by boat.

The natural beauty of the picturesque Shogawa Gorge, and the historical hot springs of Omaki Onsen discovered by the ancient warrior and the monk can still be experienced to this day. No matter what season you visit, the natural beauty of the four seasons is guaranteed to be breathtaking as you relax within the gorge between pristine forested mountains and valleys.

INTERVIEW

It appears that the hot springs were submerged below the dam lake due to the construction of the Komaki Dam. How did you keep the hot springs alive?

Omaki Onsen, which originates in the picturesque Shogawa Gorge, is a sulfate spring with a spring temperature of 58 ° C, and does not require further watering nor heating. Considering the survival of this historical hot spring facility, a man who operated a hot spring hut here at that time used his own funds to tap into the thermal springs in an attempt to continue. However, due to a downturn in visitors as a result of the Great Depression, the business went under. The electric power company that built Komaki Dam then bought this hot spring facility and decided to renovate it as a new hot spring inn. Omaki Onsen could only be accessed by boat, and so we started a dam lake boat tour service and maintained the hot spring resort as it is today.

What is the attraction of the Shogawa Gorge?

On a cold winter morning, the scenery with fresh snow falling on the trees is really beautiful. During the day, when the temperature rises, the snow tends to fall from the trees, so it is a special view that can only be enjoyed in the cold morning air. Of course, the gorge is beautiful in autumn when the leaves are dyed red and yellow, and in the spring when the trees sprout green again after the long cold winter. It is beautiful from May to before the rainy season in late June too. It is also exciting to see local wild animals such as deer and ducks with their offspring. The Omaki Kanko Ryokan inn is located at the bottom of the valley, so the sunrises late and sets early. The climate can be a bit harsh and the winds are much stronger than on the plains, but the charm of Shogawa Gorge is that you can experience the harshness and beauty of nature together.

What is the attraction of The Omaki Kanko Ryokan Inn?

Its located in a picturesque, mostly unexplored region, and can only be reached by a pleasure boat service operating in the Shogawa Gorge. Being secluded makes it even more special and adds to the value of this inn. The 30-minute cruise along the beautiful gorge to get here will make you feel like you are being invited to another extraordinary world. Built along the dam lake banks, The Omaki Kanko Ryokan blends in with the natural scenery, and is situated in a quiet environment. The real pleasure of the inn is that you can enjoy doing "nothing" away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The effect of the hot spring is also perfect for relaxation. Our kitchens use locally sourced foods such as rice, seafood, vegetables and meat as much as possible. Also, the Omaki Kanko Ryokan is also often used for TV and movie location shoots for Japanese suspense dramas, and so the museum is decorated with photographs and autographs of many famous Japanese actors.

Interview with
Mr. Yoshiyuki Kondo, Director of the Omaki Kanko Ryokan

◆Omaki Kanko Ryokan
44 Omaki, Toga Village, Nanto City, Toyama Prefecture. 932-0371
Tel: 0763-82-0363 (Japanese only)
Reservations: www.trivago.com/

◆Shogawa Gorge Cruise
When going to Omaki Kanko Ryokan, please take the Omaki Onsen Course (Round Trip Sightseeing Course)
For sightseeing only: Please take the Nagasaki Bridge Course (Short Pleasure Cruise)

Shogawa Gorge Cruise Website:http://www.shogawa-yuran.co.jp/e/index.htm
Inquiries: info@shogawa-yuran.co.jp *
If you wish to board with more than 8 people, please contact us in advance by email.

Toyama / Gifu Prefecture

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