| Centrip Editorial Board

Cycling off the Beaten Path in Shinshiro, Unwrap yourself and relax in Shinshiro’s beautiful Yuya Onsen area! 2

A couple of local residents were taking a break on a bench just in front of the noodle shop. They were quite friendly and eager to find out about me. They were very receptive of visitors and happy to meet foreigners. Although I was across the road from the two women, it was enjoyable interacting with someone without the plastic!

A little further, and I saw the large public parking space that I had passed when I arrived. But located just next to it were the Rishu Sennin’s Foot Bath, and a “hot spring stand” - sort of like a gasoline stand, where you can purchase 100 liters of hot spring water for 100 yen. I didn’t try the foot bath - I was already sweating from the heat - but I thought it would definitely be a relaxing treat while visiting during a cooler time of the year.

Right across the street was a path that led down to the river. After crossing a small bridge that the train passes under, the path split. Straight ahead, it leads to a view point where you can see much of this sleepy village.

To the right, a narrow path takes you near the train tracks, and then down to the river side, where I found a group of foreigners picnicking and enjoying the river. There were large rocks to climb on, and plenty of shade to relax in.

Going to the left takes you to a pretty red suspension bridge that crosses the Ure River and gives you some great views.

I was done exploring the southern area, and was ready to head north of the hotel. On the map, I could see a natural swimming pool and I was more than ready to get in the river to cool off and relax! As I left the hotel area, the road became even more narrow. Along the way, there were other sites that called to me - a path to walk, some old stairs to climb. They all looked interesting, but I wanted to go swimming so I kept on.

I knew I was close when I could hear cheerful voices and splashing sounds. The road took me across the tracks again, and I stopped long enough to take a couple of snapshots. The path leading to the river was just past the tracks.

Swimming in the river was SO refreshing!! There was only a slow current - perfect for a relaxing dip to cool off! There was a family of Brazillians from just outside Nagoya who had been there for some 3 hours or so enjoying the cool swimhole.

It was time to pop open the ramune soda I had bought at the noodle shop. Between the cool soda bubbling down my throat and the flow of the river, I cooled down and felt great! The water was refreshing and I was happy to stay awhile, but I wanted to see more.

After toweling off and getting dressed, I continued up the narrow road along the river and train tracks. To the left, another path led across the tracks and into the forest. To the right, another suspension bridge crossed interesting rock formations and the rushing waters of Ure River.

Here and there, the sounds of children playing in the river can be heard, the sounds becoming more frequent and louder the further north you go, until finally, at one point where you cross to the left side of the tracks, pass through a small group of houses, and you will cross again over the tracks, and onto a bridge where you will see many people enjoying the river. There are shallow places for children to wade, as well as deep places to jump into from high rocks - as well as plenty of space for everyone to maintain social distancing protocols! There is a paid for parking area on the east side of the river, next to the main road.

You can also head just a few minutes further up the road to Aichi Citizen’s Forest where you will find many more parking spaces, a smaller tributary of the Ure River for younger children, as well as day-camping areas. Please see the official website for details.

Shinshiro’s website lists three recommended courses with lengths from 20 minutes to three hours, but you can get a map of the area from any shop or hotel in the village and simply ride around to the different sites at your own pace - which is what I chose to do. For details on the recommended routes, please see this page below. You can download an informative PDF with a map to help plan your day. There’s much more to see on the longer courses, so be sure to check it out and plan out your visit!
https://www.city.shinshiro.lg.jp/kanko/city-promo/onsen/cycling.html

I made my way back to the hotel and returned the bicycle. Honestly, I wish I had come earlier in the day. There are many more places I would like to have visited.

On my way home, I had the option of taking the expressway, but decided to take the local road and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Visiting Yuya Hotsprings was just the relaxing experience I needed! Between the cycling, hiking around the village here and there, and the swimming in the river, I got much needed physical activity. What a great way to burn some stress and have fun - and to (mostly) get away from a life wrapped in plastic.

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