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Tohoku | Akita Prefecture

Nyuto Onsen

Nyuto Onsen is a collection of ryokans (Japanese traditional inns) with hot springs unique to their establishment, which is located in the Towada-Hachimantai National Park.

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Nyuto Onsen

Nyuto Onsen (乳頭温泉) is located in Senboku, which is in the Towada Hachimantai National Park. Nyuto Onsen is actually a collection of several hot springs in an unspoiled beech forest at the foot of Mount Nyuto. The name Nyuto literally translates to nipple and the rulers prior to World War II called it that because the mountain itself resembles a woman’s breast. The Nyuto Onsen Village consists of Tsurunoyu, Ganiba, Taenoyu, Ogama, Magoroku, Kuronoyu and Kyukamura. Tsurunoyu is the oldest and most famous of the hot springs in the area. Its origins dates back to the Edo period starting from 1638 and was used by government officials, which earned them the title of honjin (an inn for government officials only).

In 1661, the second lord of Akita, Yoshitaka Satake, and Iwashiro Kameda went to Tsurunoyu for therapeutic purposes. The name of the Tsurunoyu comes from the story of a local hunter witnessing a wounded crane (Tsuru in Japanese) heal its injuries in the water. Ganiba was first established in 1846 and has two spring sources. The name derives from crab in Japanese, which is kani or gani because of the many crabs in river by the open air baths. On the path that leads to the entrance of Ganiba Onsen is a small torii shrine where many locals go to pray and thank the gods for the food, wood and abundant hot spring water

Taenoyu was first established in 1952 and received the designation of National Health Hot Spring in 1967. It has two types of onsen called gold and silver. At specific times of the day one will be dedicated to females and vice versa. There are also two large outdoor mix baths, where one of them overlooks a waterfall surrounded by beautiful foliage. Ogama Onsen was built using an old wooden school building. They remodeled the classrooms to be changing rooms and dining rooms. It is a known symbol representing the virtues of hard physical labor and study. At the entrance of Ogama onsen is a toad statue since the “gama” in the name translates to toad.

Magoroku Onsen is named after its founder and is known as “mountain water of the medicine.” There are four different sources of hot spring water that the inn uses. These varied sources carry several ingredients that are known for helping with healing processes. Kuronoyu Onsen was established over 300 years ago during the Edo period. The name Kuronoyu translates to “black bath,” but it is said that the name is a mispronunciation in the Akita prefecture dialect of “kuruyu,” which means to come. It is also the only onsen in the Nyuto bunch to be closed during the winter time. Kyukamura is the most modern onsen in the Nyuto village and was first established by the government in order to promote health and tourism.