There are four major onsen spa resorts in Gunma--namely, Kusatsu, Ikaho, Minakami, and Shima. Takaragawa Onsen is part of Minakami Onsen. Its history goes back as old as the age of Yamato Takeru no Mikoto (71-130AD), who was the crown prince of the 12th Emperor Keiko and was known for his valiance. It was said that when he fell ill, a white hawk led the crown price to Takaragawa Onsen, where he rested and recuperated. Because of this legend, the onsen is also known as Haku Taka no Yu, which literally means "the onsen of the white hawk." Takaragawa is a simple hot spring. From the four open-air baths, it produces approx. 1,800 liters of onsen waters per minute.
Some ruins from the Jomon Era (145 – 10BC) were discovered at Takaragawa Onsen, suggesting that people who lived at that time had also used the onsen. The same thing happened in Kusatsu Onsen. Considering the rough landscape and the high altitude, these must not have been comfortable living places for ancient people. It is also possible that making hot water in large quantities wasn't an easy task for them. Therefore, onsen must have played a very important role for them as an effective means to cure illnesses, and so they were considered valuable, just like they are to us in modern-day Japan. Takaragawa Onsen, as it appears today, was made in the Taisho Era (1912-1926). Hotel accommodations were also built for the people who came here for hot spring treatment. It was called Toji or a therapeutic bath.
The four abundant springheads of Takaragawa Onsen fill the four open-air baths to its capacity at all times. The size totals as large as 470 tatami mats. The onsen consists of three konyoku baths (for both men and women), and a women-only bath. Kodakara, or "fertility" bath (200 tatami mats), Makanoyu, or "wondrous bath" (120 tatami mats), and Hannyanoyu, or wisdom bath (50 tatami mats), are for all people. Mayanoyu, or "Lady Maya, Shakamuni Buddha's Mother" bath (100 tatami mats) is for women only. These open-air baths are enclosed by plenty of gigantic rocks, and it's simply breathtaking. Surrounded by an untouched natural landscape, Takaragawa Onsen promises you unequivocal peace and quiet.