In the Nara period, then emperor Tenmu is said to have visited a hot spring called “Tsukamanonuruyu” and while visiting the hot spring was given a map of the region by local authority, Minonookimi. This event is recorded in The Chronicles of Japan and the hot spring mentioned is, in fact, what is today known as Utsukushigahara Onsen. The Yamanobe Chaya hot spring bathing facility was created in the Azuchi Momoyama and Edo periods by Mr. Hotta for the castle lords of the region.
The hot springs were later expanded upon as visitors increased and in the Meiji era was renamed Yamabe Onsen. In the 30th year of Showa (1955) the onsen was renamed to Utsukushigahara Onsen but it is still sometimes called “Shiraito No Yu” or “Goten No Yu”, amongst others, reflecting is history and evolution over time. The relaxing calm enjoyed by its visitors, however, has not changed.