Published: March 17th 2008March 17th 2008
Located in Akita Prefecture and no train station really close by, Nyuto Onsen is not the obvious choice for the tourist in Japan. However, if you developed a taste for onsen and want more, Nyuto Onsen is the place for you.
Listed in Robert Neff's book Japan's hidden hotsprings
, Nyuto Onsen might be different from what you would expect: No glossy swimming pool type baths and fancy ryokans, but ramshackle wooden buildings and perfect rotemburo (outside baths) instead. Ever wondered what onsen looked like in the time of the samurai? My bet is that it looks a lot like the baths found in Nyuto Onsen today.
The best place to stay is probably Tsurunoyu Onsen (red point on map) where the guest rooms actually are 350 years old samurai guard quarters, but it is often fully booked. We stayed at Oogama Onsen (green point) which had the benefit that it was only a short walk from Magoroku Onsen and Kuroyu Onsen (the yellow points) and other famous baths mentioned in Robert Neff's book. Oogama Onsen is actually a former boarding school that has started a new life as a ryoukan (Japanese inn) and is relatively cheap while the food and rooms
When visiting an onsen area like this it is part of the experience that you visit the other baths in the area as well. The price for "soto-yu" is usually between 300 and 500 yen and you only have to take the plastic bag with the tiny towel you'll find in your room in the ryokan. My record is visiting six different baths in one day but you have to take care as it is not uncommon that people are getting dizzy from so much hot water.
If you have the Lonely Planet Hiking in Japan
book, the Akita Koma-ga-dake hike (page 285) ends in Nyuto Onsen and it is in fact a popular hiking area and ski area which explains the practical foot-baths outside the Oogama Onsen which can be used for free.
To get there you have to rent a car or take the JR Akita Shinkansen to Tazawako station and then it is about 45 minutes by bus. You'll find the timetable for the bus from Tazawako station to Nyuto Onsen under this link
. Legend: 田沢湖駅前発 means Tazawako Station / 田沢湖畔発 means Tazawako lake shore / 乳頭温泉着 means Nyuto Onsen, although the
stop you want to get off might be an earlier one depending on the ryokan you're staying in.
Tsurunoyu Onsen: 0187-46-2139
Oogama Onsen: 0187-46-2438
Magoroku Onsen: 0187-46-2224
Kuroyu Onsen: 0187-46-2214
for more onsen tips.
There are more photos below