The Yuzaki area, is the most historic section of the Shirahama Onsen district. Its history goes back to the 8th century, when it was mentioned in the Nihon Shoki chronicle and the Man'yōshū poetry anthology as "Muro no Yu." Its name later changed to Kanayama Onsen and then Yuzaki Onsen.
While the old townscape has evolved with the building of hotels and so forth, the steam rising from the baths, the old souvenir shops and the sight of people walking around in yukata (light casual kimono) in the evening show that the onsen district is as thriving as ever.
Muro no Yu 牟婁の湯
From Shirarahama Beach toward Yuzaki, walk about five minutes along a shopping street lined with souvenir shops, and you will see at a tunnel. Walk on the sidewalk along the seaside, and when you go around a curve, a building with noren curtains with the hiragana character ゆ (yu, hot water) will appear. This public bathhouse, Muro no Yu, has a long history, once counted along with Saki no Yu as one of the "seven Yuzaki baths." It remains popular and bustling today. The onsen draws hot water from two natural hot springs, called Mabu-yu and Miyuki-yu, and you can enjoy bathing in two different varieties of hot water in one place.
Princess Mashirara statue and Takahama Kyoshi haiku tablet 真白良媛像と高浜虚子の句碑
After bathing at Muro no Yu and continuing on, you will come to the seaside Yuzaki Plaza. Here you will see a large nude statue of a beautiful woman. She is Princess Mashirara, the heroine of a tragic love story. A short distance away at the edge of the plaza is a stone tablet with a haiku written by early modern poet Takahama Kyoshi on the Kumano pilgrimage route.
Miyuki Gensen (hot spring source) 行幸源泉
While enjoying the lovely ocean view on your right, walk about one minute farther along the seaside embankment. Again you will see white steam and smell the scent of a natural hot spring. This is Miyuki Gensen, the oldest hot spring source at Shirahama. Catch a glimpse of Shirahama's history as a hot spring resort, which goes back to ancient times.
Onsen eggs 反対たまご
The road forks, and the road that goes toward the sea leads to Saki no Yu, an open-air hot spring bath protruding out into the Pacific like a cape. Soon after the fork in the road is a shop that serves onsen eggs (boiled in hot spring water), a popular delicacy in hot spring areas. They are also known as "opposite" eggs because the yolks are hard-boiled while the whites are soft-boiled, the reverse of what usually happens to eggs and a phenomenon unique to hot springs!
Saki no Yu Onsen 崎の湯
Go a bit further on the same path and you will arrive at Saki no Yu Onsen. This open-air hot spring bath has a history going back 1,350 years, and is said to have been favored by Emperors and aristocrats in past centuries. Bathing in these waters while listening to the sound of the surf and smelling the refreshing briny air, you will feel as if you have become one with the Pacific Ocean.
Miyuki no Shiba monument 行幸の芝の碑
Go back along the same path to Miyuki Gensen, and this time go left up a broad slope. Look up on your right side and you will see the Miyuki no Shiba stone monument standing solemnly in one corner. The stone bears a poetic inscription about how the former site of a temporary Imperial palace had turned almost completely into mere farm fields. Today there is no trace and we can only imagine its former splendor. Behind the stone monument is a large hotel, home to a marine observation tower 100 meters offshore. From this you can see what the undersea world looks like at a depth of eight meters.