At Gero Onsen, which is counted as one of the best three hot springs in Japan, the well-known hot spring, everywhere around you can see appearances of frogs that is similar to the pronunciation of the name of the place.
Where especially we wish you to look carefully is at the foot.
Frogs are drawn even on a fire-hydrant and even on a gate valve.
Why don’t you try looking for the frog motif, while strolling around a hot spring town?
An image character of Gero Onsen is “Gerogle-Kun”
The history of Gero Onsen, Gifu-Prefecture, which is reputed as “When you get in, your skin becomes smooth” is old, and it goes back even to the Heian period (794 – 1192) for the first discovery.
From the first Funsenchi (the place where hot water spring out), hot water stopped springing out during the Kamakura period (around 1192 – 1333).
But, later, because one white egret(birch) was landing on a dry riverbed of Hidagawa River every day, a villager found the hot water springing out.
This story is inherited as “the white egret legend” even until now.
On a bridge railing, the signboard is equipped with an illustration of “Gerogle-Kun” who works as including an image character of “Gero Onsen Fan Club”, and this bridge is called as the name of “Shirasagibashi Bridge”.
Next to it, there is a standing statue of Ranzan Hayashi, a Confucian scholar of the Edo Period, and he praised this place as one of “the best three hot springs in Japan”.
On the side across this statue, there is also a statue of the king of comedy, Chaplin.
When you start climbing on Shirasagizaka Slope, which extends from Shirasagibashi Bridge in between a convenience store and Gero Onsen Jinja Shrine, let’s try gradually bringing down your gaze paying your attention to cars, etc.
Though only some, there stand a kind of stone monuments, in which Gerogle-Kuns are fitted.
Please also pay your attention to the point that the costumes are different from that of illustration drawn on the signboard of Shirasagibashi Bridge.
There is also a face cut-out panel of Gerogle-Kun for your photo shooting in the hot spring town!
“Kaeru Jinja Shrine”, which is popular for a cute God’s message
* “Kaeru” means a frog in Japanese.
Along Yunomachi Street there is “Kaeru Jinja Shrine” that enshrines the spirit of a frog (Kaeru Daimyojin Spirit).
Formerly, it was located in Gero Onsen Gassho-mura Village, but it was transferred and rebuilt in 2010.
Placemarks are lanterns that are equipped with frog-shaped windows and are banner-flags of green color.
When you go forward the approach, you will find the appearance of Kaeru Daimyojin Spirit.
If you put a money offering into an offertory box, you can hear the cute and precious message.
There are several kinds of messages, so there are some people who visit for worship a couple of times to hear different messages and to compare during the stay in Gero Onsen.
Because of plays on words, including “Safely return home from a trip” and “Return to young appearance”, Kaeru Jinja Shrine is secretly popular as a spot of good luck.
The illustration of a votive tablet is of course also a frog, and it is given at the inside of the worship hall.
* How it is “a play on words”?
Kaeru means a frog in Japanese, but also the pronunciation shares the meaning of “returning” in Japanese.
So, for example, the Japanese sentence of “Kaeru ga kaeru” means “a frog returns”.
A spout of Chozusha (place for ritual cleansing of hands and mouth) is also a frog.
As there are some benches set along the approach, please use them for a short break during strolling.
Address: Yunoshima, Gero-City
Telephone number: 0576-24-2222 (Gero City Tourisｍ Association)
Access: About eleven-minute walk from JR Gero station
Gero Purin (pudding)
About a minute walk from Kaeru Jinja Shrine.
A specialized store for pudding, the first in Gero Onsen, “Gero Purin (pudding)” has opened in March 2019.
A placemark is a brightly smiling frog that holds a spoon and container of pudding.
Puddings are the basic five varieties and a menu of the limited only in the seasons, etc.
The highly recommended product is a melon soda flavor of a fresh look.
Please try tasting, by all means, the taste that makes you feel somehow nostalgic!
There is a dining space inside the store, so you can dine the pudding that you bought right there.
Address:Yunoshima 545-1, Gero-City, Gifu-Prefecture
Telephone number: 0576-74-1771
Access: About eleven-minute walk from JR Gero station
Opening hours: From 10 AM to 5 PM
Holiday: Every Wednesday (It also closes irregularly.)
There are frogs also underfoot!
In Gero-City which was born by uniting, including Hagiwara-Town and local authorities around in 2004, the cover of a utility hole with the design of “a white egret resting wings by a hot spring” is installed in the former Gero-Town area.
Although the design of a cover of a utility hole is a white egret, covers of a fire-hydrant and a gate valve are the ones designed also with a frog as you can see the photo above.
From the design that waves hide the foot and steam rises from the head, it may be understood that the frog is bathing in a hot spring.
A frog drawn on this gate valve seems a girl because if you look at it carefully you will see that it has a ribbon and eyelashes.
The quality of the spring of Gero Onsen is alkaline simple spring with a pH value of more than 9.
It is also said as “hot spring that is good for the skin” because you can expect cleansing effect as if you used a soap by just bathing.
Along Yunomachi Street, there is also a place where is installed a fire-hydrant and a gate valve side by side.
On this fire-hydrant, there are a white egret and a frog on diagonal positions across the Hidagawa River.
Other than these, as a frog is also designed on an air valve, if you have an interest, please try finding them while strolling in the hot spring town.
But, please be sure for paying attention to cars and pedestrians.
As there are several places where frogs are drawn on the paved road, why don’t you try finding these as well?
If you do a frog-finding, let’s go to Gero Onsen
In Gero Onsen, besides the ones that we have introduced this time, there can be seen appearances of frogs here and there.
These are souvenirs, are shutters of stores, and are containers of dessert shop…
Even if you do not pay attention at the beginning, once you found multiple frogs, your eyes may try finding frogs unconsciously.
Also, in the hot spring town in recent years, there is a store that serves “dessert of bare skin beauty”.
It is reputed that you can become beautiful from inside by using the foodstuff of the Gero region, and from outside of the body by bathing in the hot spring.
Face cut-put panels of various designs for photo-shooting, and footbaths of 9 places are also popular.
Please try enjoying Gero Onsen by all means.
Please check and confirm the latest information on the official websites.