Nasu is what we call the area that I live in, actually it stands for Nasushiobara and really encompasses large area (as well as being a city) and a number of regions wrongly get called “Nasu”.
Actually I live in Otawara, but I use the name Nasu because no-one has heard of the smaller Otawara, Nasu is more famous and well known – even amongst Japanese. Parts of Nasu are also within the boundaries of Nikko National Park.
Nasushiobara (那須塩原市) city is in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. Nasushiobara is the northernmost city in the Kantō region of Japan. Nasushiobara is a major train stop on the JR Tohoku Shinkansen, a bit over an hour from Tokyo.. Although I think you need a car to best see Nasu region, you can hire them at the station. .
Nasu is famous for many things. We have an outlet mall strangely named Nasu Garden Outlet, but not a garden store!
There’s a Ranch, where you can try your hand at milking a cow amongst other things. Minamigaoka Dairy with all sorts of farm animals including Guernsey cows 🙂
There is also a large Animal park and an Amusement park, a Teddy Bear Museum, Monkey Park and many others. There is a sign to a Marijuana museum, but I cant actually find it (stoned when they put it up ???) It seems strangely out of character for this region..
Oh and the Stained glass Museum and the amazing Seiji Fujishiro gallery/Museum.
Overwhelmingly I love Nasu for its beautiful scenery especially in spring and autumn. Mount Nasudake is a great hiking spot and there are many trails that lead to waterfalls and bridges in the area, plus hundreds of Onsen.
Nasu Onsen is a spread out hot spring resort in the Nasu Highlands also known as Nasu Kogen. There are 7 hot springs sourcing the region. The center of the resort is the hot spring town of Yumoto, halfway up Mt Nasu. Nasu’s hot spring baths were discovered during the Nara Period (710-1185) and are well known all over Japan. Actually, usually if I tell a Japanese I live in Nasu – they go to “onsen” immediately!
The Nasu Ropeway goes up the side of Mount Nasu – which is an active volcano – you can see the smoke rising from the mountain on clear days.
The murder stone (Sesshou-Seki) is a large rock that vents poisonous gases. It is located in a small, volcanically active valley with walking trails and an onsen. The stone is related to a legend of a nine-tailed fox that that I wrote about previously. (Actually heavily related to poisonous volcanic gases coming out of the mountain!)
Heisei no Mori is a forest park that was originally part of nearby Nasu Imperial Villa. The villa is still used as a retreat by the imperial family, but the park has been opened to the public since 2011. Lots of walkways and observation points, it’s really well done
Shiobara Onsen is a hot spring town, in a lovely valley about 20km south Mount Nasu. It is known as “Shiobara’s Eleven Hot Springs” due to the eleven hot spring sources that feed the valley. This is one of my favorite areas, it is rustic and peaceful with so many great onsen
Momijidani Suspension Bridge is also in the Shiobara valley, its the largest and tallest bridge in Shiobara Onsen.
Ryuka no Taki or Dragon falls is about 60 meter tall, 130 meter long cascading waterfall that is said to resemble a flying dragon. It is found at the end of a 20-25 minute long hike.
The whole area is full of interesting history, sights and of course onsen… Some great walks and a absolute mine of photographic opportunities. I haven’t really even got close to describing even half the amazing spots in the region..
Map below for a bit of location/relationship between Nasu & Shiobara onsen areas.
Thanks to Wikipedia & JNTO for background