Vegetarian's Japan Guide

The Recommended Ryokans and Hotels in Manza Onsen

If you are after a less-known hot spring resort in the Kantō region where Tokyo is, Manza Onsen (万座温泉) in Gunma Prefecture can be your perfect destination. The hot springs that gush out of its 18 sources comprise 20 spring qualities, so since ancient times, people visited Manza Onsen for medical spa treatments to cure intractable diseases. Of course, the onsen here is good for your skin, which is one of the main reasons that Manza Onsen is popular among women.

Besides the onsen, the town is also a destination for skiing, autumn foliage admiration, and a summer resort, making it a hidden gem that isn’t too far away from Tokyo. So if you decide to put Manza Onsen on your itinerary for your next Japan trip, read on for our recommendations of the ryokans and hotels in the town!

Table of Contents

Important: Winter tires are required if you plan to drive to Manza Onsen from November to April.

Visiting Manza Onsen as a Day Visitor

Although Manza Onsen doesn’t have a bathing facility for day visitors, most accommodations take day visitors. This means you can hop between each ryokan/hotel during the day to bathe in various hot spring pools with different scenery. Also, remember to have another onsen session at night if the weather is good. Instead of the mountainous views, you will have a sky filled with stars to adore!

As the larger-scale ryokans/hotels charge over 1,000 yen, if you are after something cheaper, Hokokukan (豊国館) is a good choice. Although it isn’t a fancy place, the spring quality is good.

  • Hokokukan‘s hot spring facility is open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm for day visitors.
    • The cost is 500 yen.
  • Yunohana Ryokan‘s hot spring facility is open from 10 am to 5 pm for day visitors from spring to autumn.
    • The cost is 700 yen.
  • Nisshinkan‘s hot spring facility is open from 10 am to 5 pm for day visitors.
    • The last admission is at 4 pm.
    • The cost is 1,000 yen.
    • The hotel sources hot springs from 4 different sources.
    • 2 bathing areas, each with a changing room attached.
    • 1 private bath rentable by day visitors.
    • It has a restaurant serving lunch.
  • Manza Hotel Juraku‘s hot spring facility is open from 12:30 pm to 4 pm for day visitors.
    • The cost is 1,500 yen for adults and 750 yen for children from 3 to elementary school students.
    • A bath towel rental costs 300 yen. A regular towel can be purchased for 250 yen.
  • Ryokan Manzatei‘s hot spring facility is open weekdays from 11:30 am to 6 pm for day visitors. On weekends and public holidays, it can end at 2 pm.
    • The last admission is at 5 pm.
    • The cost is 1,300 yen.
    • A bath towel rental costs 300 yen. A face towel can be purchased for 100 yen.
  • Manza Prince Hotel‘s hot spring facility is open from 11 am to 4 pm for day visitors.
    • The last admission is at 3 pm.
    • The cost is 1,300 yen for adults and 650 yen for elementary school students.
    • 3 bathing areas, each with a changing room attached.
    • It has a restaurant serving lunch.
  • Manza Kogen Hotel‘s hot spring facility is open from 11 am to 6 pm for day visitors.
    • The last admission is at 5 pm.
    • The cost is 1,500 yen for adults and 750 yen for elementary school students.
    • The bath towel rental cost is 300 yen.
    • The hotel sources hot springs from 4 different sources.
    • 2 bathing areas, each with a changing room attached.

☛ As the hot spring has a strong acidity, don’t soak yourself in the onsen for too long. Take a break regularly so your body can get used to it.
☛ Also, please rinse your body after bathing, as the sulphur content is strong.

Manza Onsen Yumeguri Tegata (万座温泉湯めぐり手形)

Manza Onsen Yumeguri Tegata is a hot spring facility pass that saves money. With the pass, you can enter up to 3 hot spring facilities for free if you spend a night at Manza Onsen. For day visitors, you can use a rokan/hotel’s hot spring pools for 500 yen.

  • Manza Onsen Yumeguri Tegata costs:
    • 800 yen for day visitors
    • 1,300 yen for a ryokan/hotel guest
  • If you are a ryokan/hotel guest and want to bathe in the 4th facility, it will cost 500 yen.

The hot spring pass can be purchased at the ryokans and hotels where you can visit as a day visitor. You can also purchase it from Manza Nature Center (万座しぜん情報館) next to Manza Bus Terminal.

Manza Onsen Nisshinkan (万座温泉 日進舘)

Nisshinkan is Manza Onsen’s representative and oldest ryokan. It used to call itself Manza Onsen Hotel, but because the ryokan was remembered by its guests as Nisshinkan, the name was changed accordingly later (´▽`*). Sourcing the hot spring from different sources, it is the best spot in Manza Onsen to enjoy onsen.

The ryokan was originally an accommodation for medical spa treatments, so Nisshinkan’s buildings and hot spring pools are old-fashioned. While the soundproofing isn’t as good as the new buildings, the guestrooms are well-maintained.

© 日進舘

If you are worried about language barriers when visiting a remote town, book your stay with Nisshinkan. The ryokan has multi-national staff, and the owner, Kazu, speaks fluent English!

Nisshinkan offers accommodation plans with either buffet-style or set menu dinner and breakfast. The buffet-style dinner and breakfast has a couple of vegetarian options. But note they can’t cater to special dietary requirements if you choose the accommodation plans with set menus.

Nisshinkan’s Hot Spring Facility

© 日進舘

Chouzyuno-Yu (長寿の湯), consisting 6 hot spring pools, is the most popular public bath at Nisshinkan. It also regularly appears on TV shows. The wooden bathing area is the perfect place to enjoy various types of baths. Whether you want to admire the stunning scenery outdoors or experience a traditional bath, Chouzuno-Yu can satisfy your needs!

At the bathing area’s entrance, there is a small water fountain called Ōko no Mizu (逢古の水). Feel free to fill your cup with the sweet fresh mountain spring. It is perfect for cooling you down after a hot spring session.

Gokuraku-Yu (極楽湯), located around 90 meters from Nisshinkan’s main gate, is Nisshinkan’s onsen pool with the best scenery. As no corridor connects with Gokuraku-Yu, sandals, long boots, and umbrellas are placed at the entrance for the ryokan guests to change into.

Tip: There are coin-operated lockers in the changing room.

© 日進舘
© 日進舘

If you prefer to keep your bathing time private, reserve the Enmanno-Yu, Nisshinkan’s private bath upon arrival.

  • Enmanno-Yu is open from 7 am to 10 pm.
  • The cost is 2,000 yen per 45 minutes.

Nisshinkan’s hot springs are from the below sources.

  • Nigayu (苦湯): The spring source was named “bitter”, not because it tastes bitter. It is due to its exceptional medical quality. Good herbal medicines usually taste bitter, so the spring source got its name from the fact.
  • Ubayu (姥湯): It is the only spring source that doesn’t need to be cooled down by adding water.

Important: Enmanno-Yu and Mantenno-Yu (public bath completed in 2008) are limited to ryokan guests.

Tip: Nisshinkan offers guests free shuttle bus services to and from Karuizawa. After you have put through a room reservation, call them at +81-279-97-3131 to reserve a spot for the shuttle bus. The seats on the bus are limited. Reserve as soon as possible. The bus departs from Karuizawa at 2 pm. For the return trip, it departs from Nisshinkan at 11 am.

Manza Kogen Hotel (万座高原ホテル)

Manza Kogen Hotel belongs to the Price Hotel & Resort Group. It is best known for the open-air bathing pool filled with yellow-green-colored onsen. The rare color hot spring is one of 8 hot spring tubs at the Rock Garden Open-Air Spa (石庭露天風呂). Getting and mixing the hot spring from 4 spring sources, each onsen tub has a different temperature. 7 out of the 8 onsen pools in the open-air spa are mixed-gendered. The other one is a female-only onsen pool, separated by a bamboo wall.

But don’t worry. You won’t be asked to bathe naked. Bathing suits can be rented for free for hotel guests. Blue bath towels are also placed in your room for mixed-gender baths. Instead of renting, you can also use the towel to cover the lower part of your body. If you are a day customer, it will only cost you 300 yen.

You can also purchase the bathing suit from the hotel shop. In fact, purchasing the bathing suit is recommended if you plan to visit the other 5 hotels/ryokan/s that have mixed-gender onsen tubs!

Since your private parts are covered, the mixed-gender pools make it easier for families and couples to enjoy Japan’s outdoor hot spring facility fully. Plus, mix-gender pools are cheaper than renting a private bath for those who aren’t comfortable bathing without clothes in front of strangers.

Tip: There are coin-operated lockers in the changing room.

Manza Kogen Hotel’s Meals and Facilities

Dinner and breakfast are served buffet style. If there are any ingredients you can’t eat, please check with the staff for the dishes that suit your dietary requirements.

While the hotel facility, food quality, and scenery aren’t as good as its sister hotel, Manza Prince Hotel, the CP value is higher. The hotel is also close to Manza Onsen Ski Resort and has extensive drying and storage room, making it a good option in winter if you want to ski.

Manza Prince Hotel (万座プリンスホテル)

Manza Price Hotel also belongs to the Price Hotel & Resort Group. It is the accommodation facility closest to Manza Onsen Ski Resort (万座温泉スキー場). In winter, the hotel also has plans that include lift tickets, which are cheaper than purchasing them separately. If the hotel facility is crucial to you, you will enjoy your stay at Manza Prince Hotel. It also offers the best scenery from your room window and open-air hot spring pools!

The open-air bath with a magnificent mountain view at Manza Prince Hotel is ranked the best in the hot spring town. When the weather conditions are met, a sea of clouds will cover everything below the outdoor baths that they are nicknamed “The Open-Air Bath with a Spetecular View Above the Clouds (雲上の絶景露天風呂)!

Throughout the year, when the weather is good, you will be bathing underneath the Milky Way at night. In addition, it is another amazing experience to bathe in a hot spring with the morning glow-dyed sky reflected on!

☛ Add about 30 to 45 minutes to the sunrise time if you want to watch the sunrise while soaking in the onsen. The sun needs time to rise above the surrounding mountains.
☛ There are coin-operated lockers in the changing room.

Manza Prince Hotel’s Famous Outdoor Bath

The bathing area that has earned such fame is called Komakusa no Yu (こまくさの湯). It comprises 2 male and 2 female-only hot spring tubs and a mixed-gender onsen pool. Note that the 2 male hot spring tubs are next to the mixed-gender pool. This means it is best to cover up your important part even if you don’t plan to utilize the mixed-gender pool.

The same as Manza Kogen Hotel, bathing suits can also be rented out or purchased.

Both Manza Price Hotel’s dinner and breakfast are served buffet style. The quality of their buffet is the best in Manza Onsen. Not only are there various cuisines, the taste is amazing.

Staying at Manza Prince Hotel

Regarding the guestrooms, Manza Prince Hotel has 3 wings:

  • Honkan (本館): It is where the most compacted guestrooms are located. Family rooms with a capacity of four people are also at Honkan.
    • The hotel’s restaurant is also Honkan’s facilities.
    • Honkan is the closest building to the lift at Manza Onsen Ski Resort.
  • Higashi-kan (東館): It is where Komakusa no Yu is located.
  • Minami-kan (南館): It can be reached from Honkan. The most spacious guestrooms are at Minami-kan.
    • The newest wing at Manza Prince Hotel.
    • The indoor hot spring pools, Nanakamado no Yu (ななかまどの湯), are located at Minami-kan. As most people would prefer Komakusa no Yu, you will likely have the entire bathing area to yourself at Minami-kan. While it is indoors, the view from the wide window is stunning.

The only downside is the hotel won’t be able to make anything specially for you if you have a dietary requirement. Please check with the staff about which dish you can eat when you arrive.

You can use the phrases in our Essential Japanese Travel Phrases for Vegetarians and Vegans article if you have any communication issues.

Hotel Guest Privileges Common to Manza Kogen Hotel and Manza Prince Hotel

  • The guests of Manza Kogen Hotel and Manza Price Hotel can enter the hot spring pools at the other hotel for free.
  • Shuttle buses run between the two hotels if you don’t want to walk.
  • A free shuttle bus service is available to and from Karuizawa.
    • The bus departs from Karuizawa Station’s south exit at 2 pm.
    • It departs from Manza Onsen at around 10:30 am.
    • Please email [email protected] to reserve a spot.

Manza Hotel Juraku (万座ホテルジュラク)

If you want to bathe in a hot spring pool with Gunma Prefecture‘s spectacular mountainous view without forking out too much money, visit Manza Hotel Juraku. The outdoor bath, Unkai no Yu (雲海の湯), offers amazing natural scenery to anyone who visits it. The scenery is as awesome as the Manza Price Hotel, but you can stay here for a cheaper price. In addition, one of Manza Onsen’s natural attractions, Karabuki, is in front of Unkai no Yu!

What makes Manza Hotel Juraku unique is its spring source. It has the highest sulphur concentration in Japan. Unlike most ryokans in Manza Onsen, the hot spring in the tub is 100% onsen without added water. But surprisingly, the temperature of the hot spring isn’t extremely hot and is suitable for bathing!

Important: Please confirm with the staff the time slot to utilize Unkai no Yu for your gender.

☛ The coin-operated lockers are at the entrance of the bath.
☛ Remember to rehydrate with the cold mountain stream in the water container at the public bath’s entrance.
☛ Between 9:40 am and 9:50 am, you can take photos of the onsen facility at Manza Hotel Juraku freely. If you post the photo taken on social media, the hotel will give you a small gift.

Staying at Manza Hotel Juraku

Another special thing that Manza Hotel Juraku offers is the drinks and snacks service at the lounge. Between 2:30 pm and 10 pm, alcohol, soft drinks, and snacks are served. As long as you are a hotel guest, you are welcome to come in and enjoy the complimentary service. Between 6 am and 11 pm, you can also play miniature golf in the indoor space called 1800 Golf Club (1800 ゴルフ倶楽部). Other activities include table tennis, darts, and air hockey in the recreation room and visiting the hotel’s art galleries.

Like most ryokans in Manza Onsen, Manza Hotel Juraku has various room types you can choose from, with some offering scenery, including Karabuki. If the sky is clear, rent a pair of binoculars from the front desk for a star gazing session!

Regarding dinner and breakfast, both are also served in buffet style. But you will find more delicious vegetable dishes at Manza Hotel Juraku. Remember to check with the staff if the broth/seasoning contains animal-derived ingredients if you are strict with your diet. What you must try is the cabbage dishes. The crisp and sweet Tsumagoi Cabbage (嬬恋キャベツ) is one of the local specialties in the village.

  • The hotel can pick you up from Manza Bus Terminal.

☛ Lunch is available at the restaurant at 12 pm for those who spend more than a night at Manza Hotel Juraku.
☛ If you need a room with air conditioning, reserve the special room, Komorebi (こもれび).
☛ During the ski season, check with the hotel for the shuttle bus to Manza Onsen Ski Resort. Skiing gear can also be rented out from the front desk.

Ryokan Manzatei (旅館万座亭)

Ryokan Manzatei, opened in the late 19th century, is like a large lodge house. Not only does it have a wooden appearance, it also has a wooden interior. While the building is old, it is nicely maintained. The friendly and helpful staff and the incredible food will make your visit to Ryokan Manzatei pleasant. If you tend to eat a lot, you will definitely be satisfied by the dinner and breakfast course menu.

Similar to other ryokans/hotels in Manza Onsen, a water fountain supplying a sweet mountain stream is at the public bath’s entrance. So don’t forget to enjoy another one of nature’s blessings after soaking in the mineral-rich onsen. The bathing area beyond the changing room is another world. It is like traveling back in time from the 21st century to the Edo period.

Manzatei is another ryokan in Manza Onsen, with private hot spring pools you can rent, and the good news is the cost is cheaper than Nissinkan. Again, you can make a reservation upon arrival.

  • Private baths Sasa no Yu (笹の湯) and Shirakaba no Yu (白樺の湯) are open from 1 pm to 12 am.
  • The cost is 2,200 yen per 45 minutes.
  • The private baths can only be booked if you are a ryokan guest.
  • They have a capacity of 3 people.

Tip: There are coin-operated lockers in the changing room.

Staying at Ryokan Manzatei

The ryokan has a variety of room types you can choose from, including one with a half-open-air bath attached. So if you reserve that special room, you can enjoy the hot spring any time during your stay!

Ryokan Manzatei has 3 wings, Honkan (本館), Hana-kan (花館), and Bekkan (別館).

  • Honkan is where most facilities are located, including public and private baths. It also has an elevator.
  • Hanakan is connected with Honkan with a set of long staircases.
    • It doesn’t have an elevator.
  • Bekkan, which is around 1km away from Honkan, has rooms at the cheapest rate. The rooms here are the smallest and less maintained compared to Honkan.

As the portions of the course meals tend to be too big for most people, you can let Manzatei know beforehand to cut down the portion so no food will go to waste.

  • The hotel can pick you up from Manza Bus Terminal. Please call them at +81-27-997-3133 if you need the service.

Tip: Let the ryokan know if there is anything you can’t eat at least one day before your arrival. You can call them at +81-27-997-3133.

Hokokukan (豊国館)

Hokokukan is an accommodation facility for medical spa treatments. The accommodation cost thus is cheaper, with plans allowing you to cook for yourself. So if you want a feel of how the Japanese would spend a couple of weeks in a hot spring resort to treat their illness, visit Hokokukan!

Hokokukan has both outdoor and indoor onsen tubs. But note the mixed-gender outdoor bath is also the male’s outdoor bath. This is why there is another changing room next to the male changing room. If you are female and want to use the mixed-gender bath, please cover yourself with a towel or bathing suit.

Just note Hokokukan only has Japanese-style rooms with traditional futon beds. The toilet and bathroom are shared with other ryokan guests. So if you prefer the softer Western-style bed, you can visit Hokokukan as a day visitor. The cost to utilize its hot spring facility is the cheapest in Manza Onsen. This way, you can enjoy the better facilities at other ryokans/hotels and explore Hokokukan’s traditional-style onsen pools when you are at Manza Onsen!

Tip: You can leave your valuables with the front desk, as there are no coin-operated lockers at Hokokukan.

  • Hokokukan is a 1-minute walk from Manza Bus Terminal.

☛ Hokokukan can’t cater to a vegetarian diet. If you are concerned about the ingredients used to prepare the meals, you can reserve an accommodation plan without meals and cook for yourself in the guest kitchen.
☛ The outdoor bath has a depth of 1m, which is deeper than usual. Keep this in mind when you enter it.

Yunohana Ryokan (湯の花旅館)

Yunohana Ryokan is another accommodation facility for medical spa treatments in Manza Onsen. You will be welcomed by a traditional hearth as soon as you enter the ryokan. It is where dinner and breakfast can be served. If you are after a traditional inn with a rural atmosphere from a few centuries ago, Yunohana Ryokan is the spot to visit.

The most remarkable thing about Yunohana Ryokan is its indoor Saru no Koshikake-Yu (さるのこしかけ湯). Polypore is added to the hot spring, so you get the extra medical effect from bathing in this onsen pool!

Inside the ryokan, there is even a Polypore Shrine, enshrining Saru no Koshikake Daimyōjin (猿茸大明神) between the female and male indoor baths! It is said that if you pray here, he will protect you from getting cancer.

In addition to the gender-separated Saru no Koshikake-Yu, there is also a mixed-gender outdoor onsen tub. Of course, please wear a bath towel or a bathing suit if you want to soak yourself here. Compared to the other open-air pools in Manza Onsen, the one at Yunohana Ryokan is less maintained. However, the bathing experience is closer to bathing in wild nature. So if that is your thing, consider visiting Yunohana Ryokan!

Yunohana Ryokan also accepts day visitors. You can explore this less-known ryokan with a traditional vibe during the day!

Tips and Things to Watch Out for Before Visiting Yunohana Ryokan

☛ The wooden floor in the bathing area is slippery. Be careful.
☛ There is no hair dryer in the changing room.
☛ You have to be able to speak Japanese to make a booking. Reservations are only taken via phone calls or Japanese accommodation booking websites.
☛ The guestrooms are not lockable.
☛ Yunohana Ryokan can’t cater to a vegetarian diet. If you are concerned about the ingredients used to prepare the meals, you can reserve an accommodation plan without meals and cook for yourself.

  • Hokokukan is a 10-minute walk from Manza Bus Terminal.

☛ As there are no coin-operated lockers at Yunohana Ryokan, remember to bring a plastic bag to store your valuables so they don’t get wet.
☛ If you plan to cook at Yunohana Ryokan, besides ingredients, remember to bring seasonings.

Discover the Attractions at Manza Onsen

Click the photo for information about Manza Onsen’s attractions!

Now you have your accommodation for the day sorted and maybe even short-listed a couple of ryokans/hotels to visit during the day for their hot spring facilities, how about finding out what else you can do at Manza Onsen?

While the hot spring town isn’t big, there are a few natural trails and attractions that you might be interested in. So refer to our Manza Onsen article to plan your trip!