Shima Onsen is a small, quiet rural hot spring town with a wealth of nature.
It is a long, elongated-shaped town that extends along the south-flowing Shima River.
The town is about seven kilometres from the Shima Potholes in the southernmost spot to Lake Okushima in the northernmost area. The ryokan area fans out about three kilometres away from Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Ryokan in the southernmost onsenguchi (entrance) area, to Nakanojo-kan in the Hinatami area in the northernmost region.
This article introduces the means of transportation to get around the Shima Onsen area.
If you’d like to see a lot of attractions around Shima Onsen, we recommend travelling by car as this is the most efficient way to enjoy your trip.
There are no paid parking lots, but there are free parking lots in sightseeing spots in the Shima Onsen area.
A public parking lot called Kirinokidaira can be found next to the river in the city centre (Arayu area).
We suggest that you park there to walk around the onsen town, have lunch at Kashiwaya Cafe, and visit the Sekizenkan, which is said to have served as a model for the animated film Spirited Away.
A strikingly blue lake, Lake Okushima, has free parking lots in many nearby areas.
By Public Transportation
A local bus runs about every hour from JR Nakanojo Station, the nearest station to Shima Onsen.
It makes it easier for those staying in the centre of the onsen town to reach the Shima Potholes and Momotaro Falls by bus.
Keep in mind that the buses run only as far as the Shima Onsen bus terminal in the centre of town (Arayu area). There is no means of public transportation for farther north, such as Okushima Lake or Hinatami Yakushido Temple.
Taxis in Shima Onsen
Taxis are only available for going to and from Shima Onsen to JR Nakanojo Station. As of 2021, there are no taxis services within Shima Onsen.
On Foot or by Bicycle
Shima Onsen is a small town where you can comfortably walk or ride a bicycle to explore the area at your own pace.
The distance is a short car ride from your stay in the onsen town to Lake Okushima or the opposite direction to the Shima Potholes, which is roughly ten kilometres back and forth. You can travel there in no time at all by bike, or you can take a walk at a leisurely rate for a day.
We recommend riding a bicycle to explore easily without getting tired out.
For example, some ryokans offer free rental bicycles to guests, such as Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Ryokan.
Renting a bicycle is also available at the Shima Onsen Association in the city centre, and they even offer electric bicycle rentals.
Enjoy exploring the fantastic town of Shima Onsen using any transportation you like!