Close to the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park is a little town called Shibu Onsen. Shibu Onsen is famous for its long history with hot springs (onsen in Japanese). From 600 AC., many Japanese have traveled to this area to make their rounds of the onsen, with each onsen having a different healing property. In Shibu you have 9 nine baths (called sotoyu) that you can visit if you’re staying the night. Completing your round of all 9 baths is said to grant you fortune and life longevity.
* Please note that those who are staying at Nozaru Hostel are NOT eligible for 9 baths entry.
Each of the nine hot spring found in the historic town has its own properties, with one onsen specializing in women’s health issues (bath number 8), eye infections (bath number 6), gout (bath number 4), and many more. The water of the baths of Shibu Onsen is said to be very warm, so be sure to drink plenty of water before and after your dip in the baths.
A nice souvenir when visiting Shibu is a Japanese towel called junyoku. After every onsen visit you can collect a stamp to add to your towel. The story goes that by visiting all nine baths and collecting all the stamps needed for your towel, you will be granted divine favors.
If you’re not spending the night in a hotel/hostel/ryokan in Shibu, there is only one onsen you can get into, called Oyu. This sotoyu is onsen number 9 and is said to be good for rheumatism and neuralgia.
9 Onsen Bath Map of Shibu Onsen