Tsurunoyu, Nyuto Onsen 鶴の湯温泉
Tsurunoyu Onsen is one of those very special places which never fades out from your memories of Japan, perfect for spending a night far from civilisation in a historical setting.
Situated in a remote mountain area, with no other buildings around you, the onsen is adjacent to a hill, while on the opposite side a small river flows by.
There are 3 gender-separated onsen and 1 gender-mixed rotenburo. The 2 outdoor onsen called rotenburo’s are magnificent. The water is highly alkaline and sulphuric (which has a funky smell), and a white milky texture and colour. Remember to take off all jewellery before dipping.
We always stayed in the oldest part of the complex, called Honjins – 本陣 (the row visible on the picture). There are only 5 of them so you need to have luck to have it available or reserve much in advance. A Honjin for 1 night 2 people, dinner and breakfast included, should cost you 19,740 yen. In a Honjin, dinner is served in the room itself and staff asks you the preferred time for it beforehand.
The food is great. We visited middle April and early May – both times we had mountain food and vegetables: an amazing stew soup with baked rice, mushrooms, beef and other delicate and tasty vegetables alongside 2 river fish grilled on the pit in our own room.
Their own made sake is fantastic and not at all pricey, almost a bargain. You can keep the bottle as souvenir. After dinner they make the bed for you while you are outside dipping in the waters.
The Akita Shinkansen brings you from Tokyo Station to Tozawa-ko Station, where a bus waits for you direction Nyuto Onsen. It stops at Alpa Komakusa, where the onsen shuttle waits and picks you up from there. Within 20 mins it arrives at the onsen. The complete journey takes 4 hours. A real smooth piece of cake. The only advise: don’t bring all of your luggage there – store it in a coin locker at Tozawa-ko Station, as the bus does not have proper luggage disposal.
We made reservations about 4 months in advance through this website.
We visited twice, in 2018 and 2019.