The hot spring behind Spirited Away
Nestled in the heart of Shibu Onsen in Nagano prefecture, Kanaguya Onsen is a pretty 250-year-old ryokan. Even though this is older than some other ryokans, wooden inns are one of the most popular in the thermal resort of Shibu. The reason? Its captivating atmosphere would have inspired the Miyazaki's " Spirited Away"!
In the heart of Shibu Onsen
In the small town of Yamanouchi in Nagano, Shibu Onsen is a hot spring resort that dates back over 400 years.
This resort is very close to the Jigokudani monkey park. It is well known for its exceptional setting: cobbled streets and wooden buildings dating from the Edo period (1603-1868), which housed new open-air baths whose water would be miraculous ...
- See also: Jigokudani monkey park
There are nine public baths in the town, and it is said that good fortune comes to those who visit them all! However, it is only locals and customers staying overnight in one of the ryokans in town who can access all the hot springs in the Shibu Onsen.
We do not know for sure if the celebrated director Hayao Miyazaki stayed here. Still it is certain that one of the ryokan in the resort directly inspired him when creating "Spirited Away" world. The name? Kanaguya Onsen!
The onsen that inspired Miyazaki
To create the mystical settings for the movie "Spirited Away" , Hayao Miyazaki drew his inspiration from several hot springs in Asia. Among them, the two hundred year old onsen of Kanaguya.
- See also: Dogo Onsen
Over the 250 years, Kanaguya Onsen has retained all its splendor of yesteryear: long corridors of wood tinged with purple, old lanterns lighting up the small stone paths that separate the buildings, and seven indoor baths complementing its two outdoor baths. It was enough for the director to immortalize the inn on the big screen.
The ryokan has exceptional thermal spring water provided by four different water sources in the area, making Kanaguya Onsen one of the most popular onsen in the resort. Especially with its five private baths to be enjoyed by its customers!
For fans of Studio Ghibli, this is the place to stay if you want to start your journey in the heart of the extraordinary waters of Shibu Onsen.
Credit: Kanaguya Onsen
The small paths that separate the different parts of the ryokan.
Credit: Flick/ butterforfilm
The exterior of Kanaguya Onsen