The Tohoku region in northeastern Honshu, known for its abundant cuisine and tourist attractions, also has many attractive onsen hot springs! It is also easy to get to from central Tokyo on the Tohoku Shinkansen bullet train. This time, we picked up five popular onsen areas to introduce.
1. Zao Onsen
Zao Onsen is an onsen hot spring area with a long history said to date back 1,900 years. It is also popular as a resort to enjoy activities such as skiing in the winter and trekking in the summer.
The onsen is an acidic sulfur spring which can disinfect, improve circulation, and is good for the skin. The onsen area has many inns as well as public baths and foot baths and day-use onsen facilities so you can experience a variety of baths.
2. Togatta Onsen
Togatta Onsen is a popular onsen high up at 330m above sea level. It has been open as an onsen for 400 years, and is blessed with 83 sources providing an abundance of hot spring water. It is on the opposite side of the Zao Mountain Range from Zao Onsen in Yamagata introduced earlier, and has spring water with different characteristics. Its water is a reddish-brown color and is on the hot side, and is said to keep bathers warm afterwards even in the cold. It is known to have benefits primarily for conditions related to hips and legs, such as nerve pain and rheumatism. This onsen area also has many inns and public baths, so you can enjoy baths whether you stay over or visit for the day.
3. Sakunami Onsen
Sakunami Onsen is a famous onsen area about 40 minutes by car to the west of Sendai in Miyagi. It is a renowned historic onsen that was opened in 1796. It is called a "beauty-creating hot spring" because of the abundance of gentle spring water that leaves the skin soft and smooth.
There are numerous accommodations in the onsen area offering a variety of baths such as open-air baths and rock baths. There are many inns that accept day visitors, so you can enjoy trying baths at inns other than your own.
4. Akiu Onsen
Akiu Onsen is a famous onsen in Sendai. It has a long history that is said to date back more than 1,500 years, and has long been known as a hot spring enjoyed by members of the imperial family and feudal lords. Here, you can enjoy a high quality hot spring in a nature-rich environment with valleys and waterfalls. With many tourist attractions, such as museums, and eateries in the area, it is a great place to visit.
5. Naruko Onsen
Naruko Onsen in Miyagi is located in the middle of Tohoku region. It is in a convenient location close to the borders of Iwate, Akita, and Yamagata, and has good access to major Tohoku area tourist destinations.
It is said that the hot spring here opened more than 1,000 years ago, and there are many historic ruins and ancient roads nearby. There are nearly 4,000 hot spring sources in the area, so that many inns have their own sources on their premises. It is also known for having nine of the 11 types of hot springs that exist in Japan.
Inns in the onsen areas of the Tohoku region often offer shuttle services so they are easy to get to. Please take the time to soak in the hot spring baths set among beautiful nature so you can relax and wash your weariness away.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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