Nyuto Onsen is a collection of onsenryokan in the mountains of 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.
Daytrip Hours: 10:00 to 15:00 (open air bath closed on Mondays) Daytrip Admission: 600 yen Overnight Stay: 9,000 to 16,500 yen per person including 2 meals; reservations can be made from the first of the month, 6 months in advance
Tsurunoyu is the oldest operating ryokan of Nyuto Onsen. Some of its rooms date to the Edo Period (1603-1867) and offer a rustic and authentic stay with an irori fireplace. The large, mixed gender outdoor bath is iconic of the region, and there are single gender indoor baths available, as well.
Tsurunoyu Onsen - Yamanoyado•
Overnight Stay: 14,000 to 22,000 yen per person including 2 meals
A 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.
Daytrip Hours: daily 9:00 to 16:00 (closed during winter) Daytrip 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.
Daytrip Hours: 10:00 to 15:00 Daytrip Admission: 800 yen Overnight Stay: 13,000 to 21,500 yen per person including 2 meals
Taenoyu Onsen is a modern, well equipped ryokan that sits beside the Sendatsu River. It features a mixed gender outdoor bath overlooking a waterfall, as well as single gender indoor baths.
Daytrip Hours: daily 9:00 to 17:00 Daytrip 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.
Daytrip Hours: daily 9:00 to 16:30 Daytrip Admission: 600 yen Overnight Stay: 11,000 to 13,000 yen per person including 2 meals
The main building of Ogama 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 has an ashiyu (foot bath) at its front.
Daytrip Hours: daily 9:00 to 16:00 (closed during winter) Daytrip 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.
Kyukamura Nyuto Onsenkyo
Daytrip Hours: 11:00 to 17:00 Daytrip 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 newer 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.
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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 ryokan except for Tsurunoyu, Kuroyu and Magorokuyu.
To access Tsurunoyu, 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.
How to get around Nyuto Onsen
All of the ryokan except Tsurunoyu are within relatively easy walking distance of each other. A shuttle bus, called Yumeguri-go, runs between all the ryokan about once every two hours. A one-day pass costs 600 yen. Alternatively, overnight guests can purchase the Yumeguri Pass for 1800 yen at their ryokan which covers the shuttle bus and admission to the baths of all seven ryokan in Nyuto Onsen.