Established in 2011 with the mission of protecting Japan’s rich onsen heritage and educating the world about the beauty and power of onsens in their purest form, the Japan Gensen Kakenagashi Onsen Association is the place to discover the most authentic hotsprings of Japan.
It is said that for over 6000 thousand years, stretching back to the Jomon Period, the Japanese have nurtured their own specific hotspring culture.
The oldest hot spring (or onsen in Japanese) in recorded history Yunomine Onsen, was founded over 1800 years ago deep in the Kumano Sanzan mountains of Wakayama Prefecture.
With this onsen culture at heart, representatives and volunteers from around Japan — especially from onsens that provide pure hot spring water from the earth without filtration or additives — came together in 2011 to found the Japan Gensen Kakenagashi Onsen Associtaion. Our main purpose was to spread the knowledge of traditional onsen therapy, preventative medicinal treatment, anti-aging effects, and other general health benefits associated with natural onsen bathing, not only to all of Japan but also all of the world.
We intend to re-evaluate a number of cultural values regarding onsen areas such as: history, lifestyle, tradition, festivals and rituals as well as other factors such as onsen construction, customer service, and onsen water quality and content in order to register Japanese onsen culture as a cultural heritage property and to ensure this culture is preserved and continues to thrive well into the 22nd Century.
Currently our Association is comprised members from 13 areas spanning from the north island of Hokkaido down south to Kyushu including 126 onsen ryokan (Japanese hotel), and 15 onsen only facilities as well as 31 other individual onsen ryokan members from other areas across the country bringing our membership to a total of 172 members. Above all else the number one theme that binds this association of onsens is that our members do not filter their water and provide it exactly as it flows from the earth as nature intended. Commitment to the highest standards of pure and fresh onsen water makes us the first association of this type in Japan.
As an association our core activities will be centered around adding more members and areas to our association and deepening knowledge about the value of both onsen and ryokan culture as Japanese culture both domestically and internationally as well as increasing the number of those who understand and patronize onsens.