This little onsen is hidden away way up the Susuki River (which flows through Matsumoto) on the winding road that leads around the back of Utsukushigahara Highlands. There are three hot spring facilities in Tobira Hot Springs, but Hinokinoyu is the only public one (the other two are hotels). Hinokinoyu’s water is clear, has a light sulfuric smell, and is not as hot as some of the other springs. The highlight of this bathhouse is the open-air bath that offers a great view of the gorge through which the Susuki River flows. Also, at ¥300, it’s very affordable!
Bonus: Every year from the 3rd of January to the 5th, the baths are converted into apple baths by floating about 100 apples in the hot spring!
Next to Hinokinoyu is a family-run Japanese diner called Kakesu that serves hot soba noodles and other Japanese meals.
Note that it can get a bit packed during hiking season. Be careful if you are driving here yourself—the road leading into the gorge is very narrow and winding, so be cautious of other cars coming from the opposite direction!
Also, the Myojinkan Ryokan in Tobira Hot Springs is a swanky place to stay if you want to enjoy the hot springs, mountains, and hiking! They offer pick-up service from the station.