Akita’s Onsen Paradise

Onsen Paradise Akita Japan, Silverfox's Notes
Onsen Paradise Akita Japan, Silverfox's Notes

Akita (秋田県, Akita-ken) is a large prefecture at the Sea of Japan coast in the northern Tohoku Region. Prefectural capital is Akita City. Among Akita’s main attractions are: its natural beauty of mountains and the sea, hot springs and the town of Kakunodate, which preserves one of Japan’s most interesting samurai districts.

Nyuto Onsen


Nyuto Onsen is a collection of onsen ryokan in the mountains of the eastern Akita Prefecture. The area is known for the hot spring baths, found at its eight ryokan, some of which are quite traditional and rustic. With a history of over 300 years, Tsurunoyu is Nyuto Onsen’s oldest and most famous inn.

The name Nyuto Onsen means “nipple hot spring” and comes from the suggestive shape of nearby Mount Nyuto rather than the milky/cloudy appearance of the area’s hot spring water. All the hot spring baths in Nyuto Onsen belong to ryokan, and are not only available to staying guests, but also to day trippers during certain hours and against a small admission fee. Most of the ryokan feature mixed gender outdoor baths, and all have various gender segregated bathing as well.

Part of the Towada-Hachimantai National Park, Nyuto Onsen is a 30 minute bus ride into the mountains above the picturesque caldera lake Tazawako, the deepest lake in Japan. A few other hot spring towns and hiking trails are also found in the area around Tazawako and Nyuto Onsen.

Ganiba Onsen (乳頭温泉郷 蟹場温泉)


Day-trip Hours: daily 9:00 to 17:00
Day-trip Admission: 600 yen
Overnight Stay: 10,000 to 14,000 yen per person including 2 meals. Ganiba Onsen is a modern ryokan with a large, secluded, mixed gender, outdoor bath located a short walk from the main buildings. Additional single gender indoor baths are available as well.

Ookama Onsen


Day-trip Hours: daily 9:00 to 16:30
Day-trip Admission: 600 yen
Overnight Stay: 11,000 to 13,000 yen per person including 2 meals. The main building of Ookama Onsen is a relocated wooden schoolhouse that has been converted into a modern ryokan. It has gender separated baths, and both the men and women’s areas include an indoor bath and an outdoor bath. There is also an ashiyu (foot bath) at theirs front.

Magoroku Onsen(乳頭温泉郷 孫六温泉)


Day-trip Hours: daily 9:00 to 16:00 (closed during winter time)
Day-trip Admission: 520 yen
Overnight Stay: 12,000 yen per person including 2 meals. Magoroku Onsen is another rustic ryokan located off the main road between Ogama and Kuroyu Onsen. It requires a short hike to get to and has multiple baths including a large women only outdoor bath.

Kuroyu Onsen (乳頭温泉郷 黒湯温泉)


Day-trip Hours: daily 9:00 to 16:00 (closed during winter time)
Day-trip Admission: 600 yen
Overnight Stay: 11,000 to 15,500 yen per person including 2 meals. Another rustic ryokan, Kuroyu offers multiple indoor and outdoor baths including a mixed gender outdoor bath with a nice sunset view. Accommodation varies from small spartan tatami rooms with shared bathrooms, to a converted farmhouse located off from the main buildings.

Tsuru no Yu Onsen


Day-trip Hours: 10:00 to 15:00 (open air bath closed on Mondays)
Day-trip Admission: 600 yen
Overnight Stay: 9,000 to 16,500 yen per person including 2 meals; reservations can be made from the first dates of the month, 6 months in advance. Tsurunoyu is the oldest operating ryokan of Nyuto Onsen. Some of its rooms are dated to the Edo Period (1603-1867) and offer a rustic and authentic stay with an irori fireplace. The large, mixed gender outdoor bath is an icon of the region, and there are single gender indoor baths available, as well.

Tsurunoyu Onsen -Yama no Yado


Overnight Stay: 14,000 to 22,000 yen per person including 2 meals. A bit more recent addition to Tsurunoyu, Yamanoyado is located along the road to the original inn and includes all the comforts of a modern ryokan. Yamanoyado’s baths use water from the same source as Tsurunoyu, and guests additionally have free access to the original inn’s famous baths 1.5 kilometers away.

Kyukamura Nyuto-Onsenkyo ( 休暇村 乳頭温泉郷 )


Day-trip Hours: 11:00 to 17:00
Day-trip Admission: 600 yen
Overnight Stay: 9,500 to 16,500 yen per person including 2 meals. This modern hotel style ryokan is one of the newest facilities in Nyuto Onsen. It has large indoor baths and covered outdoor baths, that are separated by gender. The ryokan is just across the street from a park with nature trails.

How to get to Nyuto Onsen

Take a bus from Tazawako Station to Nyuto Onsen (50 minutes, 820 yen, hourly departures), which makes stops near most of the ryokans except for Tsurunoyu, Kuroyu and Magorokuyu.

To access Tsurunoyu, nyou have to get off at “Tsurunoyu Onsen Iriguchi” bus stop, from where it is a 45 minute walk to the old inn. Staying guests should get off at the Arupa Komakusa bus stop instead (35 minutes, 620 yen). To be picked up by the ryokan (arrangements must be made beforehand). If you arrive by car, free parking is available in front of both inns.

To access Magoroku and Kuroyu Onsen, take the bus to the “Nyuto Onsen” bus stop, from where it is a 10 to 15 minute walk to each ryokan respectively. Kuroyu Onsen will pick up staying guests from Nyuto Onsen bus stop if arrangements are made beforehand. If you arrive by car, free parking lots are available in the proximity of each ryokan.

More info and visuals 🙂

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