Secluded hot springs located deep in the mountains of Tochigi Prefecture
If you’ve been avoiding hot springs because they seem overly busy, then this far away hot-spring village will be perfect for you. Located in a secluded valley in the Tochigi Mountains, Okukinu is home to four notable hot springs, each of which is worth a visit.
The four ryokan of Okukinu
The Yunishigawa Kamakura Festival
How to Get There
Bus is the only way to reach Okukinu. Cars are banned on the roads past Meotobuchi Onsen for environmental protection reasons. From Meotobuchi Onsen, you must ride a bus bound for the ryokan (Japanese inn) you’ve reserved with. Anyone not staying the night at a ryokan will have to hike from Meotobuchi for about two hours, a hike that can be dangerous in the colder months. Once you’ve arrived in the area, all of the onsen are a walkable distance from each other, and it is possible to visit all four in a single day.
The four ryokan of Okukinu
There are four ryokan in Okukinu and each has its own charms. The ryokan offer shuttle services to nearby outdoor activities such as hiking trails, fishing spots, and viewpoints. For details, check with the inn you are staying at.
One of the most popular of the four ryokan. Great heaps of snow cover the mountain slopes surrounding the ryokan during winter. The ryokan has segregated and mixed bathing facilities.
Also very popular, Kaniyu is situated beside a small mountain river. Kaniyu offers a broad selection of hot springs both in terms of size and location and there are both indoor and outdoor baths on site. Be sure to find the bath that best suits you! There are some good hikes around Kaniyu, and it is well worth exploring the immediate area.
Nikkozawa is a very old inn made entirely from wood. The aged and weathered wood is part of its charm. The onsen water here is said to feel very soft and smooth on the skin. From the inn, you can get great views of the steep slopes of the Tochigi Mountains.
Teshirosawa is the smallest of the hot springs in Okukinu, but offers splendid panoramic views. Its location is breathtaking, surrounded by steep mountains. The inn has only six rooms and four hot springs and guarantees a relaxing getaway, if only you can get a room!
The Yunishigawa Kamakura Festival
If you are in the Okukinu area between January and March, it is worth visiting the Yunishigawa Kamakura Festival in the town of Yunishigawa Onsen. Small igloos are built across the town in which candles are lit each night for visitors and locals to enjoy.
Hot Springs (Onsen)
Secluded hot springs located deep in the mountains of Tochigi Prefecture provide the perfect escape for those seeking a peaceful and rejuvenating experience. Okukinu, nestled in a secluded valley in the Tochigi Mountains, is home to four notable hot springs that offer a unique and tranquil atmosphere.
To reach Okukinu, the only mode of transportation is by bus, as cars are banned on the roads past Meotobuchi Onsen for environmental conservation reasons. Visitors staying at the ryokan, traditional Japanese inns, can take a bus bound for their reserved accommodation. For those not staying overnight, a two-hour hike from Meotobuchi is required, although caution is advised during colder months when the hike can be dangerous. Once in the area, all four hot springs are within walking distance of each other, allowing visitors to explore and experience each one in a single day.
Each of the four ryokan in Okukinu has its own unique charms. They offer shuttle services to nearby outdoor activities such as hiking trails, fishing spots, and viewpoints, providing guests with opportunities to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains. Hatcho-no-Yu, one of the most popular ryokan, is known for its segregated and mixed bathing facilities. During winter, the ryokan is covered in snow, creating a picturesque scene. Kaniyu, situated beside a small mountain river, offers a variety of hot springs in different sizes and locations, including both indoor and outdoor baths. Guests can choose the bath that suits their preferences and enjoy exploring the nearby hiking trails. Nikkozawa, a traditional inn made entirely from wood, exudes a rustic charm with its aged and weathered appearance. The onsen water here is renowned for its softness and smoothness on the skin. From the inn, guests can admire the awe-inspiring views of the steep slopes of the Tochigi Mountains. Teshirosawa, the smallest hot spring in Okukinu, offers breathtaking panoramic views, surrounded by steep mountains. With only six rooms and four hot springs, Teshirosawa guarantees a relaxing and intimate getaway for those lucky enough to secure a room.
One of the highlights of visiting Okukinu is the Yunishigawa Kamakura Festival, which takes place between January and March in the nearby town of Yunishigawa Onsen. During this festival, small igloos, known as kamakura, are built throughout the town. Each night, these kamakura are illuminated with candles, creating a magical atmosphere that both visitors and locals can enjoy. This festival is a unique cultural experience that showcases the beauty of winter in Tochigi Prefecture.
In addition to the hot springs and the festival, Okukinu offers a serene and peaceful environment that allows visitors to unwind and find relaxation. The secluded location, surrounded by the majestic Tochigi Mountains, provides a sense of tranquility and escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. The hot springs themselves are known for their healing properties, with the mineral-rich waters believed to have various health benefits. Soaking in the hot springs can help relieve muscle tension, improve circulation, and promote overall well-being. It is the perfect opportunity to indulge in self-care and take a break from the stresses of everyday life.
Overall, Okukinu is a hidden gem in Tochigi Prefecture, offering a secluded and serene hot spring experience. The four ryokan, each with its own unique charm, provide a range of accommodations and amenities to cater to different preferences. Whether it’s enjoying the snow-covered slopes of Hatcho-no-Yu, exploring the outdoor hot springs of Kaniyu, experiencing the rustic charm of Nikkozawa, or immersing in the breathtaking views of Teshirosawa, Okukinu promises a memorable and rejuvenating getaway. Combined with the Yunishigawa Kamakura Festival, this destination offers a perfect blend of cultural and natural experiences. So, if you’re seeking a peaceful and serene hot spring retreat, look no further than Okukinu in Tochigi Prefecture.
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