Ryujin Onsen is a hidden, historical hot spring settlement situated in the mountainous heart of the Kii-Hanto Peninsula along the upper reaches of the Hidaka-gawa River, famous for its beautifying mineral waters.
It is located at the southern entrance of the Ryujin-Koya Skyline highway that links Koyasan and the Kumano area and is a perfect place to stop and relax between these two sacred sites. The Skyline offers wonderful panoramic views of the forested peaks, layer upon layer into the horizon.
Beautifying Hot Spring
Ryujin’s high-quality hot spring waters are clear with a high quantity of sodium bicarbonate and are considered to be the best in Japan.
The smooth and silky waters are well known for making skin beautiful and are one of Japan’s three famous Bijin-no-yu or “Beautiful Women Hot Spring”.
In ancient times, Ryujin Onsen was discovered by Ennogyoja, the founder of Shugendo, a shamanistic religion of mixed originals focused on mountain worship.
Legend has it that Kobo Daishi, who founded the Shingon esoteric sect of Buddhism and Koyasan, had a divine revelation in his dream from the god of the sea, Nada-ryu-o, which lead him to the spot.
In the Edo era, it was used as a resort area for the Tokugawa ruling family of the Kii-shu domain, their castle being in Wakayama City. At present there are still Japanese inns with names such as “Kamigoten” (Royal Palace), and “Shimogoten” (Lower Lodgings), reminding us of the old Japanese feudal system.
Ryujin Onsen Accommodations
Ryujin Onsen has a diversity of accommodations, from small guesthouses, hotel-like facilities and historic inns. Staying in one of these off-the-beaten-track lodgings is a fun way to experience this natural, rural area of Japan.
Ryujin Onsen Access
Ryujin Onsen is located in the mountainous heart of the Kii Peninsula.
Buses run to Ryujin between Tanabe and Koyasan from April 1st to November 30th.
● ~ 2 hours by bus from Koyasan (See Bus Timetable #7)
● ~ 1.5 hours by bus from Kii-Tanabe (See Bus Timetable #7)
Ryujin Onsen Area Maps
Ryujin Onsen Google MapView Ryujin Onsen in a larger map
Ryujin Onsen Experiences
Products and activities related to beauty and health at Ryujin Onsen hot spring.
Heal your mind and body through delicious meals, local culture, and history at Ryujin Onsen hot spring.
Dragon’s Back Trekking
Trek around the highest peak in Wakayama and see the view from Gomasan Sky Tower which looks like a dragon’s back.
Follow the way Kukai, founder of the Shingon Buddhist enclave of Koyasan, as he stopped in Ryujin Village on the way to Kumano Hongu Taisha, on the path called “The Phantom Okuhechi.”
White Dragon Snowshoeing
Experience snowshoeing in winter on the Okuhechi Route.
Trek around the highest peaks in Wakayama at Mt. Gomadan and Ryujin-dake. See the view from Gomasan Sky Tower which looks like a dragon’s back.
Follow the way Kukai, founder of the Shingon Buddhist enclave of Koyasan, took as he stopped in Ryujin Village on the way to Kumano Hongu Taisha, on the trail known locally as “The Phantom Okuhechi.”
Stroll on foot to local power spots and natural scenery in Ryujin.
“龍” is pronounced RYU, meaning “DRAGON”.
“神” is pronounced JIN or KAMI and means “GOD”.
There are many dragon legends in the world. A lot of stories remain in this area especially the fantastic creature that continues protecting the “treasure cave.”
Here is what the dragon has kept for many years.
Traditional Craft RYUJIN
Make traditional crafts using materials of Ryujin, and chopsticks bag using Japanese paper.
Experience authentic traditional indigo dyeing dating back hundreds of years, and chopstick-making from local timber.