HOME Tohoku Akita Surrounding Areas Of Akita Nyuto Onsen: Famous Baths with Breathtaking Winter Sights in Akita's Renowned Hot Spring Village
Nyuto Onsen: Famous Baths with Breathtaking Winter Sights in Akita's Renowned Hot Spring Village

Nyuto Onsen: Famous Baths with Breathtaking Winter Sights in Akita's Renowned Hot Spring Village

Date published: 7 February 2021
Last updated: 24 February 2021

Hot spring enthusiasts love Akita Prefecture's charming Nyuto Onsen, a hot spring village nestled quietly between the region's mountains, for its stunning natural sights and vintage vibes. Many even confidently assert that the area contains the "most ideal lesser-known hot springs" of Japan.

What is it about this hot spring village that has garnered so much support from those in the know? Perhaps you, too, will understand, when you visit on a cool winter day and take a dip in one of the outdoor baths while being surrounded by a thick layer of falling snow.

That magical feeling is something rarely experienced in a normal routine, so it's really no wonder people love coming here for an unusual hot spring adventure. Let's take a closer look at some of the scenic snowy sights Nyuto Onsen has to offer!

Table of Contents
  1. Nyuto Onsen: Best-kept secret among hot spring enthusiasts
  2. What type of hot springs? What about spring quality?
  3. How to get to Nyuto Onsen
  4. Introducing the village's seven hot spring inns
  5. 1. Tsurunoyu Onsen
  6. 2. Nyuto Onsen Taenoyu
  7. 3. Hito no Yado Ganiba Onsen
  8. 4. Magoroku Onsen
  9. 5. Ookama Onsen
  10. 6. Kyukamura Nyuto Onsen
  11. 7. Kuroyu Onsen
  12. Yumeguri-cho: The one booklet to enjoy them all

Nyuto Onsen: Best-kept secret among hot spring enthusiasts

Nyuto Onsen: Best-kept secret among hot spring enthusiasts

Nyuto Onsen is located in Tazawako district of Semboku, a city on the east side of Akita Prefecture. The village is in the Towada Hachimantai National Park, a place flourishing with primitive beech forests. Specifically, it sits at the base of Mount Nyuto, hence the name. In total, there are seven picturesque inns with well-maintained bath facilities dotted around the area.

While Nyuto Onsen is starting to become popular among visitors from Japan and around the world these days, it used to be a place where only local residents patronized because of how far it was from the city.

When a "secret springs" craze swept through the country in the 1980s, Nyuto shot to fame overnight when enthusiasts listed it as one of the last few hot spring villages that still featured an olden-style Japanese landscape, and this repute eventually brought many international visitors to its doors as well.

Outside view of Tsurunoyu Onsen

Ask any non-Japanese visitor to the hot spring village why they're there and you'll likely be told it's because of Nyuto's classic Japanese atmosphere. Outdoors baths are surrounded by traditional buildings with thatched roofs and primitive forests.

The scenery is even more spectacular during winter, when a layer of pristine snow starts to cover over almost every surface, transforming the rural landscape into a magical vista throughout the season.

Not only are visitors able to soak in a relaxing bath here, they can soak up the lovely atmosphere as well! That's the main reason why the village is popular from people of all nationalities.

What type of hot springs? What about spring quality?

What type of hot springs? What about spring quality?

More than 10 spring sources exist around the village, which individual inns draw from to fill their baths with.

One such inn, Tsurunoyu Onsen, which is best known for its large mixed outdoor bath, has hot springs that come with an interesting milky-white color.

On the other hand, another inn by the name of Nyuto Onsen Taenoyu offers clear baths containing a low-density mix of magnesium and calcium sulfate. The water changes color according to the weather and is gentle on the skin due to its mild nature.

Both inns draw their spring waters from the same general vicinity, yet the spring quality is vastly different. This means you can look forward to trying out a large variety of different springs with just one trip here!

Day trip visitors who aren't staying in the inns are allowed to use their baths as well, so setting aside one whole day for a hot spring tour here is entirely possible as well.

How to get to Nyuto Onsen

How to get to Nyuto Onsen
Lovely forest roads can be found in between different inns

Since Nyuto Onsen is located at the foot of a remote mountain, you may be wondering if driving is the only way to get there. That's certainly one possibility, but thankfully, the village is accessible via public transport as well.

Here's more information on how you can get there from Sendai Station on the JR Lines, one of the most popular stations used by many non-Japanese visitors as a base station to the region!

●Car
Head for the Sendai Miyagi toll booth situated about six kilometers (3.7 miles) west of Sendai Station on the JR Lines. After passing through the booth, continue north on the Tohoku Expressway. Exit at the Morioka toll booth and drive along Japan National Route 46 and Prefectural Route 127 in the direction of Nyuto Onsen. The entire journey from the JR's Sendai Station to the Tsurunoyu Onsen Bus Stop located in front of the village's entrance takes about 3 hours and 15 minutes on a normal day.

●Public Transport (Trains / Buses)
Hop on the Akita Shinkansen from Sendai Station on the JR Lines and head to Tazawako Station. The bullet train trip will take about 1 hour and 20 minutes. After getting off, head to the bus interchange in front of the station and look for the Ugo Kotsu bus on the Nyuto line bound for Nyuto Onsen. During the 40 to 50-minute ride, the bus will stop at different bus stops located near the inns of the village. Because the interval between each bus departure from the interchange is about an hour, you may wish to check departure timings before visiting to ensure that they line up with your schedule.

While making a reservation for lodgings, look up the name of the nearest bus stop to the inn and keep that in mind for smoother trip planning. Tsurunoyu Onsen provides a free shuttle bus service to and from Alpa Komakusa bus stop for guests who will be staying overnight at their inn.

Kuroyu Onsen offers a similar service for their overnight guests, but their shuttle bus will stop at Nyuto Onsen bus stop. Both shuttle bus services must be booked in advance.

Introducing the village's seven hot spring inns

Introducing the village's seven hot spring inns

Are the seven inns of Nyuto Onsen really as charming as they claim? Let's find out!

1. Tsurunoyu Onsen

1. Tsurunoyu Onsen
Outdoor open-air mixed bath

Tsurunoyu Onsen, the oldest facility here, is the face of Nyuto Onsen, having been established since the year 1688! Most visitors come here in search of the inn's popular outdoor open-air mixed bath - a large area featuring milk-colored spring waters surrounded by majestic trees. This beautiful bath is on the bucket list of many hot spring enthusiasts for a good reason!

To begin with, the outdoor bath has such a good view, especially in winter, that it enhances the overall experience and takes away the fatigue of both mind and body.

Since the bath water is an opaque white, most visitors don't mind going for the mixed bath, but for ladies who would really prefer some privacy, there's also a women-only outdoor bath, Taihaku no Yu, that they can consider using instead.

The indoor bath Kuroyu is also known as Kodakara no Yu

Besides the baths already mentioned, there are also three other indoor baths in the building, all oozing with vintage vibes and individual charm. They are: Naka no Yu - good for relieving nerve pain, Shirayu - touted for its skin benefits, and Kuroyu - a bath that keeps you warm and toasty long after you've left it.

Main accommodations building with a thatched roof
A guestroom illuminated with lamps

The inn's lodgings are restored historic buildings with thatched roofs that were once used by feudal warriors. Realizing that you're in a place where an ancient samurai once stayed in before can be quite an exciting experience!

For the convenience of non-Japanese visitors, Tsurunoyu Onsen has English-speaking staff on hand. Signboards with clear English labels can be found throughout the facilities as well.

<@Measures against Covid-19|b@>
Equipment in shops and facilities disinfected, sterilized, and washed / Antiseptic solutions available / Rooms are disinfected between guests / Ventilation measures for rooms / Partition boards installed / Staff wear masks, gargle, sanitize, wash hands, and have their temperatures taken regularly / Number of people allowed in shops restricted, seat distance adjusted / Guests feeling unwell are declined entry into shops / Guests requested to wear mask, have temperature taken, etc.

2. Nyuto Onsen Taenoyu

2. Nyuto Onsen Taenoyu
Outdoor open-air mixed bath. Women-only between 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Nyuto Onsen Taenoyu opened in 1952 and distinguished itself from the other more traditional buildings in the village by applying a modern Japanese spin on its design. Much effort has been put in to decorating the interior, and they reflect the lady owner's desire to provide a healing space for the hardworking women visiting from cities.

The outdoor mixed bath offers a glimpse of a fantastical world during snowy winter days, and this is also the only mixed bath in Nyuto Onsen that allows women to take a dip while wrapped in a bath towel, if they prefer. Perfect for ladies who feel uncomfortable about going completely uncovered in a mixed bath!

Dining Soan
Sample picture of food - Photo credit: Akita Tourism Federation

The inn prides itself on preparing food and ingredients using local produce, from the Akita specialty, Kiritanpo hotpot to a simple bowl of flavorful mushroom soup - all presented in an appetizing manner when served.

You won't be disappointed with the lineup they have on offer here, that's for sure! Choose from two restaurants: Dining Soan, where you're treated to the sights and sounds of a mountain stream as you dine, or Dining Miyakowasure, a charming little space filled with unique folk craft and furniture.

If you're all about enjoying the landscape outside, whether it's covered with winter snow or autumn foliage, we recommend having your meals in Dining Soan.

Four types of Japanese-style guestrooms

The inn is busiest during winter! Wouldn't you like to find out why? Don't worry if you can't speak Japanese well, as there are English-speaking staff available to assist you with any questions you may have at all.

<@Measures against Covid-19|b@>
Equipment in shops and facilities disinfected, sterilized, and washed / Antiseptic solutions available / Rooms are disinfected between guests / Ventilation measures for rooms / Partition boards installed / Staff wear masks, gargle, sanitize, wash hands, and have their temperatures taken regularly / Number of people allowed in shops restricted, seat distance adjusted / Guests feeling unwell are declined entry into shops / Guests requested to wear mask, have temperature taken, etc.

  • Taenoyu
    • Address 2-1, Komagatake, Tazawakoobonai, Senboku-shi, Akita, 014-1201
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Tazawako Station (Tazawako Line)
      47 minutes by bus
    • Phone Number 0187-46-2740

3. Hito no Yado Ganiba Onsen

3. Hito no Yado Ganiba Onsen
Karako no Yu, the inn's outdoor mixed bath

About 50 meters (164 feet) away from Ganiba Onsen's building, tucked away in a nearby forest is the inn's famous outdoor mixed bath, Karako no Yu, where you can enjoy soaking in clear and colorless bath waters while being surrounded by rustic sensations that can only be found in the mountains. This lovely place makes full use of the unhurried whispers of mountain streams to help you relax your worries away.

There's also a women-only outdoor bath for ladies who prefer more privacy. The indoor baths are men or women-only as well. While the spring water in the outdoor bath is understandably slightly lukewarm, the indoor baths contain warm water directly from the source, untouched by the elements outside.

As you observe undissolved minerals floating up to the surface of the waters while soaking, you know this hot spring experience is just about as authentic as it can get!

Staff in the inn are happy to communicate with non-Japanese guests using a translation app, so don't be afraid to ask them for help if there's anything you need!

<@Measures against Covid-19|b@>
Equipment in shops and facilities disinfected, sterilized, and washed / Antiseptic solutions available / Rooms are disinfected between guests / Ventilation measures for rooms / Coin trays available / Partition boards installed / Staff wear masks, gargle, sanitize, wash hands, and have their temperatures taken regularly / Number of people allowed in shops restricted, seat distance adjusted / Guests feeling unwell are declined entry into shops / Guests requested to wear mask, have temperature taken, etc.

  • Hito no Yu Ganiba Onsen
    秘湯の湯 蟹場温泉
    • Address Tazawako Sendatsuzawa Tazawa Aza, Senboku-City, Akita, Japan 014-1204
    • Phone Number 0187-46-2021
    • Hours: 3:00 p.m. – 10:00 a.m.; Day trip guests 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
      Rates: 1 night with 2 meals - 10,950 yen onwards; Day trip bath usage 600 yen (adults), 200 yen (12 and below)
      Closed: Open daily

4. Magoroku Onsen

4. Magoroku Onsen
Photo credit: Kakunodatecho Sightseeing Information Center

The inn houses a rarely seen old-style therapeutic bath that is filled with spring water said to have a beneficial effect on gastrointestinal diseases, wounds, and skin problems. As a result, Magoroku Onsen's baths are known as yama no yakuyu, or mountain medicinal baths.

Take your pick from four available baths here - an outdoor mixed bath, women-only outdoor bath, or one of two indoor baths that are either men or women-only. As usual, the snowy mountain scenery surrounding the outdoor baths during winter is a sight to behold, and feasting your eyes while warming your body up at the same time is a truly luxurious experience that everyone should try to indulge in every once in a while!

Photo credit: Kakunodatecho Sightseeing Information Center

The inn is located in a rather remote area of Nyuto Onsen, but this seclusion makes it all the more exciting to visit. If you're curious about experiencing Japanese baths with a bit of an ancient atmosphere, then this is our recommendation for sure.

<@Measures against Covid-19|b@>
Equipment in shops and facilities disinfected, sterilized, and washed / Antiseptic solutions available / Rooms are disinfected between guests / Ventilation measures for rooms / Coin trays available / Partition boards installed / Staff wear masks, gargle, sanitize, wash hands, and have their temperatures taken regularly / Number of people allowed in shops restricted, seat distance adjusted / Guests feeling unwell are declined entry into shops / Guests requested to wear mask, have temperature taken, etc.

  • Magoroku Onsen
    孫六温泉
    • Address Tazawako Tazawa Aza Sendatsuzawa Kokuyurin, Senboku-City, Akita, Japan 014-1204
    • Phone Number 0187-46-2224
    • Hours: 3:00 p.m. – 9:30 a.m.; Day trip guests 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
      Rates: 1 night with 2 meals - 12,100 yen onwards; Day trip bath usage - 520 yen (adults), 260 yen (12 and below)
      Closed: Not fixed for day trip baths

5. Ookama Onsen

5. Ookama Onsen
Photo credit: Akita Tourism Federation

Ookama Onsen is a reconstruction of a wooden schoolhouse using the original building's materials, so you may find curious signs such as "Teacher's Room" hung up around the facilities. The familiar statue of educator Ninomiya Sontoku that exists in almost every elementary school in Japan has also survived the move. Staying at this inn may bring back some enjoyable school time memories!

The outdoor bath is made of hinoki cypress and filled to the brim with greenish-white spring waters, for maximum relaxation.

Photo credit: Akita Tourism Federation

Once summer rolls around, the inn sets up foot spas at the entrance of the building, and this is the only place in Nyuto Onsen that offers foot spas. For guests only looking for a casual onsen-lite experience, these foot spas will certainly be a godsend!

<@Measures against Covid-19|b@>
Equipment in shops and facilities disinfected, sterilized, and washed / Antiseptic solutions available / Rooms are disinfected between guests / Ventilation measures for rooms / Coin trays available / Partition boards installed / Staff wear masks, gargle, sanitize, wash hands, and have their temperatures taken regularly / Number of people allowed in shops restricted, seat distance adjusted / Guests feeling unwell are declined entry into shops / Guests requested to wear mask, have temperature taken, etc.

  • Ookama Onsen
    大釜温泉
    • Address 50 Tazawako Tazawa Aza Sendatsuzawa Kokuyurin, Senboku-City, Akita, Japan 014-1204
    • Nearest Station 0187-46-2438
    • Hours: 2:00 p.m. – 9:30 a.m; Day trip guests 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
      Rates: 1 night with 2 meals - 11,500 yen onwards; Day trip bath usage - 600 yen (adults), 300 yen (12 and below)
      Closed: Not fixed for day trip baths

6. Kyukamura Nyuto Onsen

6. Kyukamura Nyuto Onsen
Outdoor bath Tazawa Kogen no Yu. Photo credit: Akita Tourism Federation

This inn is located right at the entrance of Nyuto Onsen and features two different types of excellent spring waters. The most popular bath here is the Tazawa Kogen no Yu, an outdoor bath surrounded by a lush beech forest.

Every season, the landscape gets a complete makeover, adding an extra layer of spontaneous fun to the hot spring experience here. Of course, the main draw of the baths is still the healing effects that they have to offer!

Photo courtesy of: Akita Tourism Federation

For dinner, the inn offers a delectable kaiseki, or full course meal with seasonal ingredients and buffet meals with more than 40 types of dishes for your choosing. Both cuisine styles have received rave reviews from those who have tried them. Some items have been specially made to cater to children's palates as well, so as to ensure that everyone in the family has a good time.

Western-style rooms are available for booking - something of an anomaly in Nyuto Onsen. These hotel-like rooms are equipped with large beds. Guests who are more used to such sleeping arrangements will certainly appreciate the provision.

<@Measures against Covid-19|b@>
Equipment in shops and facilities disinfected, sterilized, and washed / Antiseptic solutions available / Rooms are disinfected between guests / Ventilation measures for rooms / Coin trays available / Partition boards installed / Staff wear masks, gargle, sanitize, wash hands, and have their temperatures taken regularly / Number of people allowed in shops restricted, seat distance adjusted / Guests feeling unwell are declined entry into shops / Guests requested to wear mask, have temperature taken, etc.

  • Kyukamura Nyuto Onsen
    休暇村乳頭温泉郷
    • Address Tazawako Komagatake 2-1, Senboku-City, Akita, Japan 〒014-1201
    • Phone Number 0187-46-224
    • Hours: 3:00 p.m. – 10:00 a.m.; Day trip guests 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
      Rates: 1 night with 2 meals - 12,800 yen onwards; Day trip bath usage 600 yen (adults), 300 yen (12 and below)
      Closed: Not fixed for day trip baths
      Tattoos not allowed, unless concealed

7. Kuroyu Onsen

7. Kuroyu Onsen
Photo credit: Akita Tourism Federation

Kuroyu Onsen, located in the deepest part of Nyuto Onsen, is yet another inn surrounded by beautiful beech forests.

The inn claims to have been founded in 1674 and is open to visitors only from mid-April to mid-November, making it a choice spot to soak and admire fall foliage at the same time. Besides an outdoor mixed bath, the inn also has bath facilities that are men or women-only.

Photo credit: Akita Tourism Federation

A thatched roof guesthouse can be found about 100 meters (328 feet) away from the main building, on top of a hill. The entire guesthouse can be booked out for your travel group only! We highly recommend using it for very special occasions.

<@Measures against Covid-19|b@>
Equipment in shops and facilities disinfected, sterilized, and washed / Antiseptic solutions available / Rooms are disinfected between guests / Ventilation measures for rooms / Partition boards installed / Staff wear masks, gargle, sanitize, wash hands, and have their temperatures taken regularly / Number of people allowed in shops restricted, seat distance adjusted / Guests feeling unwell are declined entry into shops / Guests requested to wear mask, have temperature taken, etc.

Yumeguri-cho: The one booklet to enjoy them all

Yumeguri-cho: The one booklet to enjoy them all

Here's a great deal you don't want to miss! The Yumeguri-cho (1,800 yen, valid for 1 year) is a booklet that allows you to visit all of Nyuto Onsen's hot springs for day trip usage for unlimited times.

This offer is only available for guests who have made a room reservation at one of the inns. Simply ask any of the reception staff about it to make the purchase. With this booklet in hand, you'll also be able to hop on Bus Yumeguri, a bus service that takes visitors around the village to all the inns. If you only wish to get access to Bus Yumeguri, ask to purchase the Yumeguri Map (600 yen) instead.

Japanese hot springs are notoriously strict about rejecting anyone sporting a tattoo, for cultural reasons. Even if some inns do not specifically deny such guests entry, other local guests already in the bath area may still feel uncomfortable about their presence. To prevent a potentially awkward situation, we ask that visitors with tattoos cover them up if possible, so as to make the onsen experience a pleasant and relaxing one for everyone sharing the space together.

Take some time out of your hectic Japanese trip schedule this winter to relax in peace at the idyllic Nyuto Onsen and reap the healing benefits of the village's hot springs. You'll even get to sightsee special winter scenes from an unusual point of view, so work it into your itinerary today!

Text by: ShoePress. English translation by: Huimin Pan.
* Information in this article is accurate as of January 2021. Check the official website for the latest updates.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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