Tenshukaku Gardens & Hot Springs

天守閣自然公園・市太郎の湯・そば処 市太郎 | Tenshukaku Gardens, Ichitaro no Yu, Soba Ichitaro

Recharge in traditional gardens and a forest hot spring

Photo by Natasha Fox

Photo by Roger Smith

Photo by Natasha Fox

Photo by Natasha Fox

  • Akiu is a popular getaway tucked away in the mountains of western Sendai. The area exudes a relaxed, unfussy warmth and hospitality emblematic of the Japanese countryside. It is home to a number of worthwhile sights and experiences. One of my favorite budget-friendly ways to spend a day in Akiu is with a visit to Tenshukaku Gardens and Ichitaro Hot Spring. A combination ticket for both costs just ¥1,850 and includes a hearty lunch at Soba Ichitaro.

    Enjoy a leisurely walk through the Tenshukaku property, a traditional Edo-style strolling garden set against the natural backdrop of the nearby mountains. Because the paths are paved and have no stairs, the gardens are accessible and enjoyable even for people with mobility challenges. The deftly cultivated Tenshukaku Gardens showcase the transient beauty of nature and the four seasons. The most remarkable feature is the natural boulder garden, the resting place of dozens of massive rocks that have tumbled down from Mount Osawa over the centuries due to volcanic and seismic activity.

Natasha Fox

The paths wind past a koi pond, hot spring footbaths, and groves of bamboo, maples, pines, and other flora. At a leisurely pace, one could easily spend an hour or more enjoying the gardens.

akiu kinoie

Autumn brings richly colored foliage to the gardens and the mountain backdrop, warm hues that contrast nicely with the gardens’ green moss. The gardens also host an award-winning illumination event every autumn.

Roger Smith

After strolling the gardens, warm your body to the core at Ichitaro no Yu, a day-trip natural hot springs facility in the woods next to the gardens. There are two outdoor baths and one large indoor bath (all gender separated). The outermost bath has a nice view of Mount Osawa. Lucky bathers may even catch a glimpse of rare kamoshika (Japanese goat-antelopes) roaming wild on the mountainside.

The onsen water at Ichitaro no Yu is tawny with silt and weakly alkaline, leaving skin feeling clean and silky. The bathhouse itself is redolent of the cypress used in its construction, with high ceilings and large windows that provide ample natural light. Body soap, shampoo and conditioner are provided in the washing area.

akiu kinoie

Soba Ichitaro is conveniently located in a rustic wooden building next to the gardens and hot spring. This casual restaurant serves hot and cold country-style soba and udon noodles. The lunch set included in the day-trip package is a choice of hot or cold soba or udon accompanied by tempura and a grilled rice ball. The broth accompanying the hot noodles is a traditional katsuobushi- and kombu-based dashi. The tempura comes crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, just as it should. I’m also fond of the local apple juice sold here—it has a tart sweetness that brings back memories of my childhood in Oregon.

Natasha Fox



Genbeehara 5-1, Akiumachi Yumoto, Taihaku Ward, Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture 982-0241


By city bus: 60 minutes from Sendai Station, followed by a 15-minute walk.

From Sendai Station West Bus Pool Stop 8 (仙台駅前8番のりば), board bus bound for Akiu Onsen (秋保温泉). Alight at Akiu Onsen Yumoto (秋保温泉湯元). Timetable here.


By Akiu・Kawasaki Seibu Liner bus (秋保・川崎 仙台西部ライナー): 35 minutes from Sendai Station.

Board bus bound for Kawasaki-machi (かわさきまち) at Sendai Station bus stop 63. Alight at Kinoie (木の家) bus stop. Timetable here.


Day-trip package (gardens + hot springs + lunch): ¥1,850 (available weekdays only)
Gardens only: ¥400 adults, ¥100 children ages 4–elementary school, children ages 3 & younger free
*The price may vary depending on the season. Extra charge applies during the period of illumination event. Please check the official website for details.

Hot springs only: ¥800 adults, ¥730 junior high school students, ¥400 children ages 4–elementary school, ¥200 children ages 1–3


Not accepted


Limited English


Tenshukaku Gardens: Yes
Ichitaro no Yu: Grab bars have been installed but please note that there are some small steps
Soba Ichitaro: Yes


Tenshukaku Gardens: 10:00–16:00
Ichitaro no Yu: 10:00–17:00 Monday–Friday, 10:00–17:30 weekends & public holidays. Hours may vary according to season, see official website for details.

Soba Ichitaro: 11:00–15:00* Monday–Friday, 11:00–15:30* weekends & national holidays
*Last order 30 minutes before closing. Hours may vary according to season, see official website for details.


Not necessary


Varies according to season. See official website for updates.




No tattoos allowed in Ichitaro no Yu

Food & Drink Details




Please ask when you order




Yes (a smoking area is located outside)





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