The boom in Japan about hitō (秘湯, hidden hot springs), Nyuto Onsen is perfect example of hitō which is a hot spring resort in the rural setting, surrounded by deep forest and mountains. The resort consists of 6 lodges and 1 state-owned inn which are all scattered around along the main road.
The nearest station for Nyuto Onsen is Tazawako on Akita Shinkansen Komachi (こまち) trains which provides hourly service from Tokyo to Tazawako via Sendai and Morioka. The journey takes roughly 3.5 hours from Tokyo, 2 hours from Sendai and 40 minutes from Morioka. Book your seat in advance, as seats on all Komachi trains are reserved. Japan Rail Pass is accepted.
Ugo-kotsu bus operates an overnight express highway bus service from Hamamatsucho (in Tokyo) and Yokohama Station to Tazawako Station. Single: ¥8,860 (¥510 extra from Yokohama), round-trip: ¥15,890 (¥1,020 extra for Yokohama).
- Depart Yokohama 9:35PM, Hamamatsucho 10:25PM, arrive in Tazawako 8AM.
- Depart Tazawako 8:20PM, arrive in Hamamatsucho 6:05AM, Yokohama 6:50AM.
Once you are at Tazawako Station, take a direct bus for Nyuto Onsen from Stop No.1, which is also operated by Ugo-kotsu bus (Red with white stripes). ¥800/single. The bus will pass through the only road in Nyuto and will call several stops before terminating at near Ganiba Spa, where the road ends. The journey takes 55 minutes via Tazawako. Buses usually connect Komachi trains from Tokyo.
Most lodges are close, and it is easy to walk between them. However, Tsurunoyu is off the main road, and the lodge has a minivan shuttle to the other lodges.
Main features of Nyuto Onsen are simply to enjoy plenty of mountain and forest scenery, mixing with other people (bear in your mind they come here on same purpose to enjoy this onsen, too!), taste traditional Japanese meals and appreciate their natural hot-springs constantly flow onto the surface.
In summer, thousands of flowers blossom and open up around you. While leaves on trees change to shiny golden colors in autumn which attracts many season admirers, on the other hand you may surprise the volume of snow falls in Winter.
If you are staying at one of lodges, each of them offer traditional dinner and breakfast with local dishes. Here are some restaurants which are handy for day trippers.
- Tsurunoyu (鶴の湯). 11:30AM-1PM. The lodge offers lunch for everyone, dishes including noodles, set menus and vegetable hotpot.
- Tsurunochaya (鶴の茶屋) (Located at Tsurunoyu's car park.). 8AM-3:30PM. Serves light meals such as Japanese curry.
- Tsurunoyu (鶴の湯), ☏ . Most popular lodge in the resort, well known for honjin rooms and outdoor baths which represents the image of Nyuto Onsen. The lodge also has a restaurant offering local buckwheat noodles and hotpot, and a separate inn Yama-no-Yado (山の宿).
- Ganiba (蟹場), ☏ . Situated at the end of main road. The named after many crabs had been found around the lodge. It has an indoor bath and an outdoor bath.
- Taenoyu (妙乃湯), ☏ . This lodge is situated on the bank of Nyuto River. It has a feminine atmosphere, mixed with European and Japanese antiques.
- Ohkama (大釜). An old school building had been relocated to the current location and now serving as a spa lodge. Only Ashiyu (Footbath) in Nyuto is open to public during summer.
- Magoroku (孫六), ☏ . Magoroku is also known as 'Mountain water of the medicine'. There are 4 different sources of hot springs which carry ingredients for several healing processes.
- Kuroyu (黒湯), ☏ . The only in Nyuto that is closed in winter (open late April-late November). Popular for its rural setting and thatched roof. Self-catering facility is available on request.
- Kyukamura Tazawako-Kogen Inn (休暇村田沢湖高原), ☏ . Very modern and easily filled up by groups or families where other lodges have limited size of rooms. The inn gets extremely busy during skiing season in winter.