KinugawaOnsen (鬼怒川温泉?) is a hot spring resort that is quite close to where I live. Actually I didn’t know about it at all and was driving through the countryside and I came across this town, with a huge amount of big hotels and infrastructure – in the middle of “nowhere” – anyway it turned out to be Kinugawa onsen..
Discovered in in the early Meiji period as an onsen. It was obviously heavily developed for tourists to visit in the 60’s or 70’s but then hit by the 90’s recession and other financial issues, now it looks very old and tired, with many buildings closed completely. It has been updated a little as Japanese travellers, look to home for holidays more than they did in the 70’s & 80”s and some dilapidated buildings removed, but still looking a little old, however the onsen are supposed to be great, so worth a trip.
The whole place is very also close to the World Cultural Heritage-listed temples and shrines of Nikko and so would make a good side trip..
The Kinugawa River boasts some of Japan’s most spectacular ravine landscapes, as well as the picturesque scenery. The hiking in this region is great, especially in Autumn.
Close by is the Tobu World Square which boasts over 100 individually crafted 1:25 scale model of the most famous, UNESCO-designated World Cultural and Heritage Sites, complete with 140,000 1:25 miniature people. I didn’t visit this at the time, but having read up on it, I have no choice, but to return… there are multiple zones (Japan, Asia, Europe, USA etc.).