If you ever travel to Japan you must stay at an Onsen. An overnight trip will give you plenty of time to relax and be fed like royalty.
Here I am in Akita prefecture; there are mountains around, misty clouds and the scenery is very very green.
It’s cold, my summer clothes were not the best choice for this particular trip but the Onsen water really warms you up.
This was the first onsen we went to and it was charmingly rustic. Very traditional and immersed in nature. The water smells distinctively of sulphur here. There are many trails starting from this area to go trekking though we did not take advantage of that because of the weather. We went to visit the nearby samurai town of Kakunodate instead. Nearby there is also lake Tazawa which has deep blue waters and is very scenic. The weather made it for even a more mysterious setting. We travelled and moved around the area by car. This onsen is closed between November and March because the snow makes the steep road to reach it impassable. Plan accordingly if you intend to visit. Peaceful place!
This Onsen is also in the Nyuto Onsen area not far from Kuroyo Onsen. This onse was a bit posher than Kuroyo and also a bit more expensive. While they offer different experiences they are both excellent hot spings. On arrival at Taenoyu they really fussed over us, they parked the car for us, assisted with the check-in and gave us an entire tour of the facilities. The food at this onsen is like Japanese fine dining. Very high quality and a lot of it. This onsen has both women and men separate areas as well as a mixed bath areas. The highlight of this onsen is the view over the waterfall which makes for some amazing settings. There are two pools that look onto the waterfall. These are located in the mixed sex area however for a couple of hours per day this area is off limit to men so that women can also enjoy it in private. This onsen has also a private bath. The two men and women areas are switched during the day so that both men and women can enjoy them separately at different time of the day (they are different). Guests have the opportunity to book the private bath (30 minutes allotted per room) and it has excellent views over the waterfall. We were offered the option to book the private bath upon check in and we thought we were not going to bother (as the whole onsen is beautiful anyway) but when the receptionist looked at us disappointed with set a time. I am glad we did: the place feels very special.
For those who would like more information I have scanned a copy of the Nyuto Onsen village leaflet in English (PDF format). There are a number of onsens in this area (including the ones described above) and the leaflet includes information on the onses, a brief area guide and instructions on how to reach the Nyuto onsen village area.