Last updated: February 01, 2022

Unwind in quaint onsen towns surrounded by nature

Shima Onsen is a quiet, remote resort that is home to the ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) that is rumored to have served as inspiration for"Spirited Away," the cult animation by Studio Ghibli. The town evokes a feeling of old Japan. The mineral-rich onsen water in Shima is purported to be beneficial for your health. The Shima Seiryu no Yu is a public bath in Shima Onsen, known for its picturesque open-air bath overlooking Shima River. Nearby, kayak the bright blue water of Lake Shima and explore the Shima River’s waterfalls, set against a mountainous backdrop.

See & Do


Shima Onsen

Nature & Outdoors

Lake Shima

Nature & Outdoors

Shima Potholes

Nature & Outdoors

Lake Okushima


Shima Seiryu no Yu

When to Visit

When the greenery of spring starts to emerge, the natural cobalt blue of Lake Shima and Lake Okushima is at its most vivid. Explore Shima's incredible scenery by day and relax in the baths of Shima Onsen, a traditional onsen resort, in the evening.

Getting Here

Getting Here
Getting Here

There are one to two direct highway buses per day between Tokyo Station and Shima Onsen. The ride takes about 3.5 hours. Alternatively, take the shinkansen from Tokyo Station or Ueno Station to Takasaki Station. Transfer to the JR Agatsuma Line to Nakanojo Station. From there, hop on a local bus to Shima Onsen.

Getting Around

Getting Around

Beyond Shima Onsen’s main town, which is small and easy to walk around, the rest of Shima is quite spread out and remote. You can access some spots by local train or bus, but to fully explore the area, it is best to rent a car.

Renting a Car

Renting a Car

Shima is remote, and although it’s possible to explore the area by foot and limited public transport, renting a car allows you to access its farthest reaches. Rent a car from Takasaki Station and drive the last leg to Shima Onsen. Book in advance to secure your vehicle.


Shima provides a wealth of accommodation. Choices range from charming traditional inns to authentic homestays and glamping.

Travel Tips

Shima’s summers are warm, with high temperatures of around 30 degrees Celsius. Winter conditions are cold and windy, with average lows of about -3 degrees. It rarely snows in the winter, but the roads can be icy, so you need snow tires if you're driving a rental car.

There are very few ATMs in Shima, so withdraw cash before you travel to the area. Many places take cards, but it’s a good idea to have some cash, too.

Shima Tourism Association provides information about Shima to help you optimize your time in the area.

Nakanojo Station, on the way to Shima Onsen, provides coin lockers in which you can store your luggage.

Most of Shima's accommodation facilities and some onsen areas provide free Wi-Fi. To be sure you can stay connected, buy a pre-paid SIM card or organize a pocket Wi-Fi rental on arrival in Japan.

Related Stories & Guides


Shima Official Tourism Website

Shima Official Tourism Website

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