Hokkaido, which is popular with foreign tourists for its vast nature, is a place where you can fully enjoy its magnificent scenery while taking a bath in a hot spring. Here we will introduce to you 5 recommended open-air baths perfect for day trips.
Yama no Yado Nonaka Onsen is a hot spring at the foot of Mount Oakan located in Akan National Park. It's one of the 100 Famous Japanese Mountains picked by mountaineer Kyuuya Fukada. This open-air bath is made of rocks and was hand-crafted by the owner himself. This bath feels very open because it's surrounded by nature, and at night you can bathe under the starry night sky. Although men's and women's bath are separated, it is separated only bya grid-like screen so couples can enjoy talking (however, please try not to disturb other people). The quality of the spring is known to be good, and the hot spring water is cooled down to a reasonable temperature so you can take a bath for long periods.
It's open from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm, and costs 350 JPY for adults. Why not try to visit here after sightseeing in the nearby Lake Onneto -- one of the three great secret lakes in Hokkaido?
1. Mountain Inn Nonaka Onsen
We recommend Minshuku 500 Mile to people who are heading towards Noboribetsu. Their open-air bath is very popular because you can relax to the sound of the waves while gazing at the view of the ocean. During the winter season, the interweaving scenery of snow and the ocean is definitely something you have to experience. You can lock it from the inside so you can also use it as a private open-air bath. It can be something to enjoy with the family. Reservations for one family with a maximum of 4 members is 2,000 JPY (excl. tax). There are 3 facilities which include 1 open-air bath and 2 indoor baths but it's best to reserve the open-air bath ahead of time if you want to make sure you can use it.
2. Minshuku 500 Mile
Ishikari Natural Hot Springs Banya no Yu is also an open-air bath that allows you to enjoy the ocean view of Ishikari. The secret behind its popularity is the quality of its water. Water that welled up from the bottom of the ocean has kept the minerals from ancient times to include high-density components, so it's said that the water not only has great effects on one's skin and for one's tiredness but will also prevent you from getting sick from cooling down too fast after the bath. It's also known for its easy accessibility since it's just 1 hour from Sapporo by bus. Admission for adults (junior high school students and older) costs 650 JPY, and business hours are 10:00 am to 12:00 am. Why not try to go here while sightseeing in Sapporo?
3. Ishikari Natural Hot Springs Banya no Yu
We recommend the Government Hotel Awabi Sanso to people who are going around the area between Sapporo and Hakodate. This open-air bath where you can listen to the river stream is a place where you can enjoy the view of the cherry blossoms in spring, the foliage during fall, the greenery during summer, and the snow during winter. Of course, it's an authentic hot spring. Its a strong free-flowing hot spring, and its reddish-brown water is rich in calcium and magnesium which is said to have a skin-tightening effect, so this bath is popular with women. Admission is 400 JPY for adults (junior high school students and older), and business hours are 9:00 am to 9:00 pm during May to August and 9:00 am to 8:00 pm from September to April. It's 2 to 3 hours away by train and bus from Hakodate.
4. Government Hotel Awabi Sanso
Natural Hot Spring Taikiyu Showaten is a bathing establishment meant for day trips which is great for people who plan to sightsee in the Kushiro area. This open-air stone bath overflowing with elegance is a place where you can enjoy the seasonal view while savoring the fresh air of Hokkaido. It's best known for the quality of its spring water. It's 100% spring water from the source, a well that has the highest chloride concentration in Hokkaido. Chloride springs are said to be especially effective on people who are sensitive to cold. It's well-known for the water's comfortable temperature and the wide bathtub which can help relieve travel fatigue. Admission costs 550 JPY for adults and business hours are 12:00 pm to 12:00 am on weekdays and 6:00 am to 12:00 am during weekends. It operates every day except for inspection dates and holidays.
5. Natural Hot Spring Taikiyu Showaten
How was it? Every open-air bath in Hokkaido, an experience where you are able to view Mother Nature while taking a bath, is exceptional. Try to visit these open-air baths if you happen to be there.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.