Located in the mountains of Yamagata prefecture, accessible only by bus or car, Ginzan Onsen is best known nowadays as a picturesque hot spring town - but the town originally sprung up around the former silver mine. That history lives on today in the town's name, which translates as "silver mountain hot spring". Ginzan Onsen found popularity as a hot spring retreat in the early 1900s, with wooden ryokans popping up along the riverbank to accommodate visitors, and the town retains much of its Taisho-era charm today.
Pleasant as it is to stroll the streets of Ginzan Onsen during the day, the town really comes into its own at night as the lanterns flickers to life and bathe the streets in a warm glow. It's particularly striking under a blanket of snow in winter, but is noteworthy in any season. While Ginzan Onsen may be somewhat time-consuming to get to, this does keep it from being overrun by tourists and protects it as a real highlight of Tohoku. The journey to get here is well worth the effort!