Akita, Japan Oct. 04 Wed 6:20PM
Akita's Mountainside Onsen
Nyuto Onsen is a rustic hot spring town in the eastern Akita mountains. The town has eight ryokan, some of which date from the Edo period. The most famous in the town is the over 300 year old Tsurunoyu, considered by some to be one of the best establishments in Japan for someone looking for a traditional and authentic onsen ryokan experience in the countryside. Imagine sitting in a hot spring thick with healing properties, and enjoying deep natural scenery like the below, changing with the four seasons, only to return to a very traditional room, at once both austere and luxurious, to be greeted by a scrumptious Japanese meal with sake...
All of the hot springs in the town do belong to these inns, but they are open during the day for general admission even if you are not staying at the inns. Most of the ryokan have mixed-gender bathing, which is becoming more of a rarity in Japan. All of the ryokan also have male-only and female-only onsen. Guests who are staying overnight at a ryokan can purchase the Yumeguri Pass, which costs 1550 yen (less than $15 USD) and provides admission to all seven of the baths in the area. A shuttle bus connects pass holders to each ryokan and makes rounds every 1-2 hours. Reservations for the bus is required in advance, and can be reserved by telling the front desk staff at any of the ryokan where you are bathing.
Nyuto Onsen literally means "nipple hot spring," and the name comes from the shape of Mount Nyuto nearby the resort. Nyuto Onsen is only 30 minutes away by bus to the mountains above, which have a caldera lake called Tazawako, which is the deepest lake in Japan. There are execellent hiking trails as well as other smaller hot spring towns in the area.