The history of Arifuku

A brief history of Arifuku Onsen

Arifuku Onsen town, located in Gotsu, Shimane, dates back about 1,300 years. At that time,  a famous character from Japan history, Shoutoku Taishi[1] ( 聖徳太子 ) was  conducting affairs of state during the culture and political reform influenced by contact with China.

Arifuku is also famous because of Kakinomoto Hitomaro[2] ( 柿本人麻呂 ), one of the greatest poets in Japan. He and his wife both visited Arifuku Onsen town. His poems can be found in the Manyoushu ( 万葉集 ), the oldest anthology of poetry in Japan. This historic collection of poetry consists of 20 scrolls and includes approximately 4,500 poems written by poets from all walks of life, from emperors to common people, over a period of about 450 years.

From about 1975, Arifuku Onsen became famous as an entertainment area. Because of this, there were many Geisha ( 芸者 ), women who mastered the traditional art of entertainment, including Japanese dancing, singing, playing musical instruments and performing tea ceremony. Nowadays with depopulation of the region, the springs are not as vibrant as they were but you can still enjoy bathing here and trying the local cuisine.

Arifuku Onsen is now popular as a hot spring resort, but originally the hot springs in this area were used for medical purposes. People with skin problems came to be cured. Some say the water still contains restorative properties.


[1] Click to learn more about Shoutoku Taishi ( 聖徳太子 )

[2] Click to learn more about Kakinomoto Hitomaro ( 柿本人麻呂 )

(Written by Shota)

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