About Geto Hot Spring
Located in Kitakami in the southwestern part of Iwate Prefecture in the northeastern region of Japan, Geto Onsen is located in a precipitous mountain valley in the mountainside of Yakushi-dake and is known as a hidden hot spring that stands deep in the mountains. There are two stories about the origin of the name: one is that the hot spring is located on a precipitous mountainside, which means “location of a cliff” in Ainu, hence the name; the other is that some people saw the hot spring shining like oil when the sun shone on it in high summer. This is why it was named Natsu Oil.
It is basically a sodium and calcium chloride spring and sulfuric acid spring, which is effective in treating cuts and burns, chronic skin diseases, children’s weakness, chronic gynecological diseases, and arteriosclerosis. Visitors can enjoy the comfort of soaking in the hot spring while enjoying the beautiful scenery around the hot spring, which is really a great beauty on earth.
How to get there
(1)60 minutes by car from Kitakami Station
(2)50 minutes by car from the Kitakami-Etsuriko IC of the Tohoku Expressway
(3)40 minutes by car from the Kitakami-Nishi IC of Akita Expressway
Geto Onsen is a secluded hot spring located at the northern edge of Kurikoma Quasi-National Park in the Geto Valley surrounded by a virgin beech forest. The discovery and use of the hot spring has a long history, and it was described as “the best hot spring in the Nanbu domain” in a book of efficacy in the Edo period (1603-1867), and was ranked as the best hot spring in the East along with Hongu Onsen in Kishu, the largest hot spring in the West, in the hot spring ranking lists published in Edo and Kyoto at the time.
Today, it remains one of the “100 Best Hot Springs in Japan. Regarding the origin of the discovery, it is written that Jikaku Daishi, who built Mantokuji Temple on Mt. Sutra Mound, discovered the hot spring in the 3rd year of Saikyo (856), and there are many legends related to Jikaku Daishi in the Geto mountains. On the other hand, it is also said that in 1375, Takahashi Shirozaemon, a matagi (a Japanese wooden goat) descended from a fallen Heike warrior, chased after a deeply wounded great white monkey and found it bathing in a hot spring, which is said to be the discovery of Geto Onsen.
There are also various theories as to the origin of the name “Geto Onsen,” such as that it comes from the Ainu word “gut-o” (meaning a place with a cliff), or that it was called “summer hot spring” because it was unusable due to heavy snowfall in winter, and later “hot spring” became “oil” because the water looked like oil shimmering in the summer sun, thus becoming the current name “Geto”.