Nozawa Onsen, at the base of the Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort, is a nostalgic hot spring town made up of narrow lanes and canals lined by hotels, ryokan, shops, restaurants and bars. The town is well regarded for its hot springs which are a relaxing diversion after a day of skiing. Visitors can bathe at more than a dozen small, public bath houses scattered about town.

These traditional style, public bath houses, or soto-yu, have been community owned and maintained since the feudal days. They are simple and rustic, with just a single room for each gender containing a bath and a changing area. The soto-yu are free to the public (although a small donation is requested for upkeep), and do not provide any amenities. Be careful as some of the baths are extremely hot.

The largest of Nozawa Onsen's bath houses is Oyu, a beautiful wooden building at the center of town. In addition to its traditional bath houses, Nozawa Onsen's hotels and ryokan each have their own hot spring baths for the use of their guests. Some of them open up their baths to non-staying guests during the day for a small entrance fee.

Further up the slope toward the ski resort is the unique Ogama hot spring. Considered an important natural monument, its water bubbles up at a scalding 90 degrees Celsius and is way too hot for bathing in. Instead the local villagers use it for cooking and craft making.

Getting there and around

Nozawa Onsen's baths are within walking distance of each other, scattered around town.

How to get to and around Nozawa Onsen