There are records of onsens in the area from as far back as 1,300 years, but the current source, Mitabora Shinbutsu Onsen, has only been used since 1968.
During the 2004, onsen scandal in which establishments made false statements concerning the source of their water, one ryokan was found to be charging customers for water they claimed was spring water. After the activities were confirmed, restitution was paid.
The water for the Nagaragawa Onsen was starting to become brown and cloudy, the group started looking for new water sources in 1999, which they found within the city limits. In addition to using the new found spring waters for their facilities, they also purchased land to build an onsen stand, at which they would sell the spring waters at retail prices. After complaints that emptying the underground spring would ruin the land and building foundations of the surrounding residents, the project was cancelled.
The Nagaragawa Onsen are located on the northern side of Mount Kinka, near Gifu's urban center, so visitors can enjoy both city activities and the relaxing onsen. There are a total of seven hotels and ryokan which draw water from the same source for their onsen:
During the cormorant fishing season from May 11 to October 15, guests can see parts of the fishing tradition from the hotels and ryokan. Though it takes place at night, each cormorant fishing boat has a bonfire (篝火 kagaribi) to light the river surface.