Nyuto Onsen stands for a conglomerate of several hot spring resorts in the beautiful mountains of eastern Akita Prefecture, and the onsen (hot spring) featured here is one of them. Kuroyu Onsen is located in a stunning valley, far away from everyday stress but still easy to reach, as it belongs to the Hachimantai National Park, close to Lake Tazawa.
Kuroyu is proud of its tradition, which dates back to the Edo period. As it offers a wide range of hot baths, there is something for everyone; including a mixed gender outdoor bath, which is generally not very common in Japan. Of course there are gender segregated indoor and outdoor baths as well, and every bath offers a magnificent view. I highly recommend to enjoy a relaxing bath in autumn, when the leaves of the surrounding woods change their color.
As all the hot spring baths in Nyuto Onsen belong to a ryokan (Japanese guesthouse), Kuroyu also provides accommodation. However, this does not mean that the hot spring baths are only available to staying guests. One-day guests are also welcome and can enjoy the onsen from 9 am to 4 pm for a small admission fee (¥ 500). A towel can be purchased for ¥ 300.
The separated gender bath I visited was not as big as what I saw before, but it was at least as good! It surprised me that the washing facilities were quite basic. There was only one place where I could wash myself; I found some body-soap, but no shampoo. However, the soak in the baths was just fantastic.
The indoor bathtub is made of very smooth wood, which makes it a very comfortable experience to let your body sponge up the mineral-bearing water. The rotenburo (outdoor bath) is also made of silky wood and offers a better view to the surrounding nature than the indoor tub. Although the outdoor bath isn’t very large, its location just next to a stream is just perfect.
Kuroyu Onsen offers a free parking area, from which the baths can be reached within a few minutes. There is also a bus running from Tazawako Station to Nyuto Onsen; however, you will have to walk a few hundred meters to get to the spa. If you are staying there they might be able to pick you up, since they have a van.
Please note, that the hot spring resort is closed in winter; it’s open from April to November.