Nyūtō Onsen and the 7 Unique Ryokans Deep in the Mountain

Nyūtō Onsen (乳頭温泉郷) is a rural hot spring resort in Akita prefecture (秋田県) that consists of six ryokans and one hotel, each having its own history, style and, spring quality. Listed as one of the 100 Japan Hidden Scenic Spots (日本の秘境100選), the resort is quietly nestled deep in the mountain at the base of Mt. Nyūtō.

It is literally the best spot for those who enjoy bathing. With the seven onsen facilities that are scattered within 20 minutes walking distance (apart from Tsuru-no-Yu), it is possible to try out the onsen across all seven places in one day (although we would recommend that you should at least stay overnight there).

Tips:
→ If you don’t plan on staying overnight at Nyūtō Onsen resort, it is best that you bring your own towels and shower set because not all of them supply these for free.
→ If you plan to stay at one of the ryokans and also want to try out the onsen in the other six ryokans, purchase a Yumeguri-chō (湯めぐり帖) for 1,800 yen. It is basically an admission ticket that allows you to enter all the onsen pools in Nyūtō Onsen. For more information, please click HERE.
→ It may be easier to use THIS WEBSITE to book your stay at Nyūtō Onsen as it is in English.

And if you are bored of the onsen, you can take a short stroll into the beautiful forest the surrounds Nyūtō Onsen resort (=゚ω゚)ノ. HERE is a map that has trekking and hiking routes that you can follow (although in Japanese). The total length and approximate time required for each course are marked in the circle next to each route with the shoe icons (which indicate the difficulty of each route). The more shoes that are coloured, the harder the course is. If you need assistance reading the map, you can contact us HERE with your enquiries and we will get back to you.

  • Route number 1 to 5 are trekking courses around Nyūtō Onsen resort
  • Routes 6 to 8 are hiking courses to the summit of Mt. Nyūtō (乳頭山頂) that can be done in half a day
  • Route 9, being the hardest hiking route that is only recommended for hikers with a lot of experience, will lead you all the way up to the top of Mount Akita-Komagatake (秋田駒ヶ岳)

As indicated on the map, the season for hiking is from June to early October every year. From mid to late October till late May, the mountains surrounds Nyūtō Onsen are covered in thick snow that is deemed too dangerous for any hiking.

Six Ryokans Plus One Hotel at Nyūtō Onsen Resort

  • Tsuru-no-Yu (鶴之湯) – opening from 10 am to 3 pm for day-trip tourists: the oldest facility in Nyūtō Onsen with a milky colour onsen. You will be bathing in thatched-roof terraced houses
  • Tae-no-Yu (妙乃湯) – opening from 10 am to 3 pm for day-trip tourists: is best known for its modern Japanese style interior and outdoor bath pools along a mountain stream
  • Kuroyu Onsen (黑湯溫泉) – opening from 9 am to 4 pm for day-trip tourists: has a great mountain view
  • Ganiba Onsen (蟹場溫泉) – opening from 9 am to 5 pm for day-trip tourists: its outdoor bath pools are surrounded by virgin beech forest
  • Magoroku Onsen (孫六溫泉) – opening from 9 am to 4 pm for day-trip tourists: its onsen pools are drawing onsen water from four different natural sources
  • Ōkama Onsen (大釜溫泉) – opening from 9 am to 4:30 pm for day-trip tourists: was renovated from a school
  • Kyukamura (渡假村 乳頭溫泉鄉) – opening from 11 am to 5 pm for day-trip tourists: is the most modern facilities in Nyuto Onsen

Important: unless you are enjoying the onsen in a mixed-gender bathing facility (which you are allowed to cover yourself with a bath towel), you aren’t allowed to enter the onsen pool with a towel (yes, that means you have to be naked).

Tips: For autumn foliage lovers, come to Nyūtō Onsen resort in October. From early October, the mountains are slowly dyed with yellow and orange colour with the autumn foliage peaking from the middle to late October each year.

Click HERE to skip to Nyūtō Onsen Resort’s access information.

Tsuru-no-Yu (鶴之湯)

Tsuru-no-yu Nyuton Onsen
Photo from Akita Tourism Federation

Tsuru-no-Yu’s history is traced back to 1638 when the second lord of the Akita Domain, the head of the Taketa clan, visited the facility for therapy.

The medical quality of the spring at Tsuru-no-Yu was proven just by how this spot was discovered. This onsen was discovered by a local hunter who saw a white crane healing its wounds in the spring. The spot was then named “crane’s hot spring” – “Tsuru-no-Yu”.

This facility is the most famous in Nyūtō Onsen. Its main wing – Honjin (本陣) as shown in the photo above retains its original looks from the 1600s with little renovation done inside. It is the perfect spot if you want to travel back time to the Edo period where samurais would be walking around (=゚ω゚)ノ

Tips: As you can imagine, it is difficult to book a room in Honjin. So try to book as early as you can (at least 6 months in advance)! But if you still couldn’t manage to get yourself a room in Honjin, you are always welcomed to walk around in the areas other than the guest rooms (entry to the onsen pools obviously will cost you money if you aren’t a ryokan guest).

Onsen at Tsuru-No-Yu

The best onsen pool in Tsuru-no-Yu is unfortunately the mixed-gender pool so it may deter a lot of people, including the Japanese themselves from going. Surrounded by nature, the natural spring water that comes out from the bottom of the pool forms a lot of bubbles that many people may find particularly interesting to watch (=゚ω゚)ノ.

As the spring water also contains baking soda components and salt, it can effectively remove sebum and dead skin cells. Plus, it has a moisturising effect!

Tsuru-no-yu Nyuton Onsen
Photo from Akita Tourism Federation

If the mixed-gender pool isn’t something that you are comfortable with, there are gender-separated onsen pools (although smaller) that you can utilise more comfortably (no private bathtub, unfortunately).

There are another four different onsen pools for visitors to enjoy: one female-only outdoor pool and three indoor pools each with different types of hot spring water.

Tips: To our lovely female friends, if you want to enjoy the hot spring water in the mixed-gender pool but don’t want to bathe with the other gender, head to Shiro-Yu (白湯) bath pool (^_-)-☆.

For more information on Tsuru-no-Yu, please refer to their website HERE. Please note that the place only takes accommodation reservations by way of telephone calls if you don’t read Japanese. If you do, HERE is a list of their accommodation plans.

Winter at Tsuru-no-Yu

Tsuru-no-yu Nyuton Onsen
Photo from Akita Tourism Federation

Although winter is freezing cold at Nyūtō Onsen resort, there is something you can take part in during the winter at Tsuru-no-Yu apart from playing with the snow.

At the front gate of Tsuru-no-Yu, you will find this small snowdome which is a temporary shrine for the god of winter!

The entrance of the dome might seem small, but it is actually quite spacious inside. You can even fully stand up if you are short enough (;´∀`).

Outside of Tsuru-no-Yu’s building, there are these smaller snowdomes that are lit up inside.

But remember to wear enough clothes before you step out. It may look really warm with the orange lighting, but it is actually freezing outside at night!

Tsuru-no-yu Nyuton Onsen
Photo from Akita Tourism Federation

How to Get to Tsuru-no-Yu

Please take Ugoku Kotsu (羽後交通)’s Nyūtō Line (乳頭線) from JR Tazawako Station (田沢湖駅前) or Lake Tazawa (田沢湖畔) and get off at Arupakomakusa (アルパこまくさ) stop. There is no English timetable available at the moment, so please refer back to the Japanese bus stop name when you read the Japanese timetable HERE. The current one-way bus fare is 600 yen.

Tips: If you are staying overnight at Kuroyu Onsen, book with the ryokan in advance to be picked up and dropped off at the Arupakomakusa bus stop!

Click HERE to get back to a list of accommodations at Nyūtō Onsen Resort.

Tae-no-Yu (妙乃湯)

Tae-no-Yu is a luxurious ryokan with high quality of service and facility. Soon after you enter this ryokan, you should be able to smell a strong woody aroma from its wooden interior decoration that makes it really popular amongst female guests.

Dinner and breakfast at Tae-no-Yu are filled with Akita’s local dishes such as Kiritanpo Nabe (きりたんぽ鍋), which is an Akita style hot pot. Another Akita’s local special dish is the incredibly smooth Inaniwa udon (稲庭うどん).

Both dishes are the must-try dishes when you come to Akita prefecture and should be made available to order when you stay overnight at Tae-no-Yu (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Tae-no-yu Nyuton Onsen
Photo from Akita Tourism Federation

Kiritanpo is an Akita local dish that is made from mashed rice. The mashed rice is then made to form into cylinders around cedar skewers before it gets roasted over an open hearth. It is usually consumed as one of the hot pot’s ingredients or grilled with sweet miso paste.

Onsen at Tae-no-Yu

Tae-no-yu Nyuton Onsen
Photo from Akita Tourism Federation

The same as Tsuru-no-Yu, the onsen pool with the best view is the mixed-gender pool. But at Tae-no-Yu, they will provide special bath towels for female guests to use which will put your mind at ease during your bath time (^_-)-☆.

And we want to stress that the view from their mixed-gender pool is the most beautiful view you will come across out of all the onsen pools in Nyūtō Onsen. Surrounded by nature (as they all are), you will also see a mountain stream flowing quietly next to the pool that you will be indulging your body in.

If sharing your bath time with strangers just isn’t something that you want to do or experience, that is okay! They have private onsen pools that you can book even if you aren’t staying overnight at this gorgeous ryokan (*´ω`).

At Tae-no-Yu, they have two different onsens: Kin-no-Yu (金の湯) and Gin-no-Yu (銀の湯), which means gold onsen and silver onsen respectively.

Kin-no-Yu is a golden colour acidic hot spring that contains minerals such as iron (which is known for treating certain skin diseases and wounds). After you come up from the onsen, you will feel like your whole body is coated with a moisturising layer!

Gin-no-Yu on the other hand is transparent. The spring acidity is quite mild that will be suitable for small kids or those with sensitive skin. As Gin-no-Yu is highly effective in warming your body up, straight after you come out of Kin-no-Yu, jump straight into Gin-no-Yu to wash away some of the minerals that might be too strong for your skin. This method is especially recommended for those who have sensitive or fragile skin!

For more information, please visit their website HERE!

Tips: For those who have special dietary requirements like us, make sure you let the ryokan know in advance so that they can cater to your request!

How to Get to Tae-no-Yu

Please take Ugoku Kotsu (羽後交通)’s Nyuto Line (乳頭線) from JR Tazawako Station (田沢湖駅前) or Lake Tazawa (田沢湖畔) and get off at Nyuto Onsen (乳頭温泉着) stop. There is no English timetable available at the moment, so please refer back to the Japanese bus stop name when you read the Japanese timetable HERE. The current one-way bus fare is 800 yen.

Click HERE to get back to a list of accommodations at Nyūtō Onsen Resort.

Kuroyu Onsen (黑湯溫泉)

Kuroyu Onsen is also a ryokan that has a long history that can be traced back to the Edo period (1603 – 1868). Just like Tsuru-no-Yu, the ryokan is known for its hatched-roof.

The most special thing about Kuroyu Onsen is its Hanare (離れ), which is a hatched-roof cottage located at a high ground around 100 meters away from ryokan’s main building.

Kuroyu Onsen Nyuton Onsen
Photo from Akita Tourism Federation

Also, out of all the other onsen facilities at Nyūtō Onsen, Kuroyu Onsen offers its customers a choice for them to cook for themselves. This option is particularly attractive to those with a limited travel budget. You will need to bring your own ingredients to cook (pre-made meals or bento boxes might be the easiest option as there will be a microwave for you to use (^_-)-☆).

The Kuroyu Onsen’s outdoor onsen pools, whether it is mixed-gender or not, all have spectacular views of the mountains in the distance and are even more stunning during the autumn season! But unfortunately, they don’t have any private onsen pools available. Nevertheless, if you do decide to drop by and use the Kuroyu Onsen, your skin will still be as smooth as a baby afterward (≧▽≦)!

As Kuroyu Onsen is buried deep in the mountain, it only opens from mid-April to early November each year. Booking can be made through Kuroyu Onsen’s website HERE.

How to Get to Kuroyu Onsen

Please take Ugoku Kotsu (羽後交通)’s Nyuto Line (乳頭線) from JR Tazawako Station (田沢湖駅前) or Lake Tazawa (田沢湖畔) and get off at Nyuto Onsen (乳頭温泉着) stop. There is no English timetable available at the moment, so please refer back to the Japanese bus stop name when you read the Japanese timetable HERE. The current one-way bus fare is 800 yen.

Tips: If you plan on staying overnight at Kuroyu Onsen, book with the ryokan in advance to be picked up and dropped off at the Nyūtō Onsen bus stop!

Click HERE to get back to a list of accommodations at Nyūtō Onsen Resort.

Ganiba Onsen (蟹場溫泉)

Ganiba Onsen is another ryokan that we love. Although the exterior of the ryokan may look relatively simple and plain, what matters is always the interior, right?

They have two gorgeously built indoor onsen pools, one made of wood and one made of stones. Combining with the scenery viewed from the big window, each scenery gives you a completely different, but relaxing vibe.

Ganiba Onsen Nyuton Onsen
Photo from Akita Tourism Federation
Ganiba Onsen Nyuton Onsen
Photo from Akita Tourism Federation

Kaniba Onsen’s mixed-gender pool is 50 meters (2 minutes) away from the beech forest nearby. Located just along the river, the whole onsen pool blends in perfectly with nature (*´ω`).

Tips: To the lovely ladies reading this article, Kaniba Onsen allocates an hour each day for the mixed-gender pool to female guests from 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm (^_-)-☆.

Click HERE to check out more photos of their onsen pools on Kaniba Onsen’s website and for more information about the ryokan!

Tips: For those who have special dietary requirements like us, make sure you let the ryokan know in advance for them to cater to your request!

How to Get to Ganiba Onsen

Please take Ugoku Kotsu (羽後交通)’s Nyuto Line (乳頭線) from JR Tazawako Station (田沢湖駅前) or Lake Tazawa (田沢湖畔) and get off at Nyuto Onsen (乳頭温泉着) stop. There is no English timetable available at the moment, so please refer back to the Japanese bus stop name when you read the Japanese timetable HERE. The current one-way bus fare is 800 yen.

Click HERE to get back to a list of accommodations at Nyūtō Onsen Resort.

Magoroku Onsen (孫六溫泉)

Magoroku Onsen Nyuton Onsen
Photo from Akita Tourism Federation

Magoroku Onsen is known for its hot spring of strong curative effect. The locals would call their onsen “Yama-no-Yakutō (山の薬湯), which means medical onsen in the mountain.

It is also a ryokan that is popular amongst hikers as it is located at one of the trailheads of the hiking track to the top of Mt. Nyūtō. If you plan to hike Mt. Nyūtō, let the ryokan know your plan in advance and they will accommodate your schedule for you to have dinner earlier.

Tips: For those who have special dietary requirements like us, make sure you let the ryokan know in advance and they will try their best to cater to your request!

With different onsen pools containing different sources of spring water, the one pool that you won’t want to miss out on is their Karako-no-Yu (唐子の湯). The radium mineral hot spring can only be found there!

Although they don’t have private onsen pools available, they have single-gendered pools even for the ones that are open-aired. But one thing to note is, the change room is connected to both a female-only outdoor pool and a mixed-gender indoor pool. So please read the sign carefully before you open the door!

Magoroku Onsen Nyuton Onsen
Photo from Akita Tourism Federation

How to Get to Magoroku Onsen

Please take Ugoku Kotsu (羽後交通)’s Nyuto Line (乳頭線) from JR Tazawako Station (田沢湖駅前) or Lake Tazawa (田沢湖畔) and get off at Nyuto Onsen (乳頭温泉着) stop. There is no English timetable available at the moment, so please refer back to the Japanese bus stop name when you read the Japanese timetable HERE. The current one-way bus fare is 800 yen.

Tips: If you plan on staying overnight at Magoroku Onsen, book with the ryokan in advance to be picked up and dropped off at the Nyuto Onsen bus stop!

And check out their access information page HERE. We love their hand-drawing Nyūtō Onsen resort map!

Click HERE to get back to a list of accommodations at Nyūtō Onsen Resort.

Ōkama Onsen (大釜溫泉)

Fancy in taking a bath inside a Japanese school? Come to Ōkama Onsen!

But actually, the ryokan wasn’t renovated from a closed-down school. Instead, it was rebuilt by using the building material of a school close by in 1977 after the original ryokan was burnt down.

As the building material was from a school, the exterior of the ryokan resonates with the primary schools back in the good old days!

Ōkama Onsen Nyuton Onsen
Photo from Akita Tourism Federation

From April to October, at the front gate, there are tubs with onsen in them for anyone who wants to rejuvenate themselves from all that travelling (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Hot Spring at Ōkama Onsen

Ōkama Onsen Nyuton Onsen
Photo from Akita Tourism Federation

The onsen here is strongly acidic as it contains iron and sulphur. This may not be suitable for those with sensitive skin.

People who have tasted the water described the spring water as being sour. But because of these acidic characteristics, the onsen will help get rid of old/dead skins and tighten your pores at the same time!

What is even better is that the spring water contains a lot of natural moisturizing elements that will keep your skin smooth and soft (^_-)-☆.

Tips: For those who are vegetarian like us, make sure you let the ryokan know in advance so that they can cater to your dietary requirements!

How to Get to Ōkama Onsen

Please take Ugoku Kotsu (羽後交通)’s Nyuto Line (乳頭線) from JR Tazawako Station (田沢湖駅前) or Lake Tazawa (田沢湖畔) and get off at Nyuto Onsen (乳頭温泉着) stop. There is no English timetable available at the moment, so please refer back to the Japanese bus stop name when you read the Japanese timetable HERE. The current one-way bus fare is 800 yen.

Tips: If you are staying overnight at Ōkama Onsen, but have trouble reaching the ryokan due to situations outside of your control such as poor weather conditions or you have missed the last bus bound for Nyūtō Onsen resort, please give them a call and they should be able to arrange a pick-up service for you.

Click HERE to get back to a list of accommodations at Nyūtō Onsen Resort.

Kyūkamura (渡假村 乳頭溫泉鄉)

Kyukamura Nyuton Onsen
Photo from Akita Tourism Federation

Kyūkamura is one of the 37 hotels owned by the National Park Resort Chain.

Although the hotel itself doesn’t have the secrecy element like the other six ryokans, it is the accommodation facility in Nyūtō Onsen that is suitable for families or elderly people due to its level of service, modern facilities, and location.

Onsen at Kyūkamura

Strangely enough, they don’t have a private onsen pool that is available for renting (we would have thought that a hotel chain like this, should have the funding to build a few private pools…). So if you don’t want to share your shower/bath time with strangers, make sure you book one of their western-styled rooms that have a shower/bath attached to the room.

In one of their indoor bathing area, a bigger onsen pool is divided into two smaller pools, each with a different type of onsen.

Kyukamura Nyuton Onsen
Photo from Akita Tourism Federation

The one with the milky colour is called Tazawako-Kōgen-no-Yu (田沢湖高原の湯) which is known to remove excess sebum from your skin.

The clearer onsen is Nyūtō -no-Yu (乳頭の湯). The spring water, known for containing moisturising properties, will soften the keratin surface of your skin making your skin feeling soft and supple.

Dining at Kyūkamura

Kyukamura Nyuton Onsen
Photo from Akita Tourism Federation

Dinner at Kyūkamura is all made from local and seasonal ingredients. Their kaiseki-ryōri (traditional multi-course Japanese dinner) isn’t just perfect for your Instagram photos, but all the dishes are mouth-watering delicious!

In the morning, you will be enjoying their buffet that will give you enough energy and nutrients to kick start your exciting adventures (^_-)-☆.

Tips: For those who have special dietary requirements like us, make sure you let the ryokan know in advance so that they can cater to your request!

Camping at Nyūtō Onsen

From June to early October, you can also book to camp at Nyūtō Onsen with Kyūkamura. Note that the campground is 1.5 km from the hotel, so rather than getting off at bus stop – Kyūkamura-mae (休暇村前), get off at Tsurunoyu Iriguchi (鶴の湯温泉入口) instead.

The camping facility is not currently listed on the hotel’s English website, so you will have to refer to the Japanese website HERE for more details. Again, if you require translation assistance, please contact us HERE and we will get back to you.

How to Get to Kyūkamura

Please take Ugoku Kotsu (羽後交通)’s Nyuto Line (乳頭線) from JR Tazawako Station (田沢湖駅前) or Lake Tazawa (田沢湖畔) and get off at Kyukamura (休暇村前) stop. There is no English timetable available at the moment, so please refer back to the Japanese bus stop name when you read the Japanese timetable HERE. The current one-way bus fare is 800 yen.

Click HERE to get back to a list of accommodations at Nyūtō Onsen Resort.

Yumeguri-chō (湯めぐり帖)

Yumeguri-chō (湯めぐり帖) is the pass that you will want to get if you are staying overnight at one of the seven accommodations in Nyūtō Onsen resort or want to use the onsen pools in at least three other ryokans/hotel. With 1,800 yen, you get to visit all seven onsen facilities (once only) and board the Nyuto Onsen loop bus – Yumeguri-go (湯めぐり号) free of charge.

The loop bus literally goes around all seven facilities according to the timetable, which is convenient if you want to reach each facility. The bus timetable can be found HERE (during winter months) and HERE (rest of the year).

Unfortunately, if you don’t plan on staying overnight at Nyūtō Onsen resort, you won’t be able to purchase the Yumeguri-chō pass. You can, however, still purchase a Yumerugi Map (湯めぐりマップ) for 600 yen which is an unlimited one-day bus pass that will allow you to board the Yumeguri-go.

How to Get to Nyūtō Onsen

By Train

To get to Nyūtō Onsen by train, the fastest way is to take the bullet train/Shinkansen “Komachi (こまち)” to get to JR Tazawako Station (田沢湖駅). From JR Tazawako Station, change for Ugoku Kotsu (羽後交通)’s Nyūtō Line (乳頭線). It takes around 40 minutes to get to the onsen resort. This may sound like a long time to some of you, but time will really fly when you continue to gaze at the beautiful scenery from the window!

By Shinkansen to Tazawako Station

  • From Tokyo Station (東京駅): approx. 3 hours
  • From Sendai Station (仙台駅): approx. an hour and 15 mins
  • From Akita Station (秋田駅): approx. an hour

By Airplane

You can also catch a flight to Akita Airport and from there, there are reservation-based shared taxi services that will bring you straight to Nyūtō Onsen. Albeit it is more expensive, it is a more convenient way. For more information about the price, timetable and to make a booking, please refer to the Akita Airportliner’s English website HERE

  • Note reservation through internet needs to be made by 5 pm 2 days in advance. If you are booking through a phone call, please do so by 5 pm the day before

Click HERE to get back to a list of accommodations at Nyūtō Onsen Resort.

Explore the Stunning Lake Tazawa Close By

Ukiki-Shrine-Lake-Tazawa-Akita-Japan
Click the photo to find out more about Lake Tazawa

Whether you are transmitting at Lake Tazawa to get to Nyūtō Onsen or self-driving, visiting Lake Tazawa is a must when you come to this part of Akita prefecture!

On top of the beautiful scenery, there are a couple of interesting attractions to visit around the lake.

For more information, please refer to our article on Lake Tazawa!

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