Nyuto Onsen (乳頭温泉, Nyūtō Onsen) is a collection of onsen ryokan 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.
How to get to Nyuto Onsen
Take a bus from Tazawako Station to Nyuto Onsen (50 minutes, 840 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, 630 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.