It’s Andres, from Boutique Japan.
This month we feature two postcards from remote onsen (hot springs) in different parts of Japan.
In the dead of winter there is nothing more soothing and rejuvenating than a visit to a rural onsen, deep in the Japanese countryside. It’s one of many reasons to visit Japan in winter (and my personal favorite!).
There are beautiful onsen throughout Japan, and most of the best are hidden in hard-to-reach corners of the country, where few travelers will ever visit.
Tsurunoyu Onsen (top photo) is home to a lovely – though not luxurious – traditional ryokan (inn). Spending two or three nights here is the perfect way to step back in time and get away from it all.
Getting here is not easy (see their website link above for details), but when you immerse yourself in the thermal waters, surrounded by snow and the silent winter forest, you know you’ve come to the right place.
A bit closer to Tokyo, yet worlds apart from city life, is the onsen town of Nasu, in Tochigi Prefecture. Here, at a ryokan such as Kita no Yu (second photo), you can experience old-fashioned (though quite basic) Japanese accommodations and wonderfully atmospheric old baths.
Both of the above onsen are slightly unique in that they are mixed bathing (men and women together). While this used to be the norm, most onsen these days offer gender-separated baths.
If you’re looking for a more luxurious onsen and ryokan experience, make sure to check out our piece on the best luxury ryokans in Japan!
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Founder, Boutique Japan