Ginzan Onsen in Obanazawa City is a hot spring town with its century-old inns clustered along both sides of a steaming river. Each inn is a wooden establishment of three or four stories with balconies and ornamented stucco walls. Cobblestoned alleys, old-fashioned bridges and Victorian-style gas lamps add a dreamy touch to the resort, especially during the winter months when the wooden eaves are coated with white snow.
The hot spring dates back to the 16th century when a silver mine was discovered, thus earning the name Ginzan ('Silver Mine') for the river and the resort. This spot became known nation-wide in the 1980s when Oshin, an enormously popular drama, was set in this area. The drama also has been broadcast overseas in 63 nations.
Besides hot springs inns, there are two public bath houses and some foot baths. Among other attractions are a 22m-high waterfall and souvenir shops selling kokeshi wooden dolls.
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