A splendid mountain stream open-air hot spring! Nasu Shiobara's Yumori Tanakaya

Review of 湯守田中屋 | 栃木県那須塩原市塩原6
  • Trip101 Review
Tabi Moco
Tabi Moco 
| 4 min read

Don’t you ever wish to go to an exciting hot spring? “Yumori Tanakaya” inn in Nasu Shiobara, Tochigi prefecture, has an amazing mountain stream open-air bath. The place is located inside Nikko National Park and the bath itself is surrounded by splendid nature. The murmur of the mountain stream in front of your eyes and the lush green of the forest relax your body and soul. But there’s not only a great view – this freely flowing hot spring is known for its skin beautification effect. Here you can also savor fresh fish and delicacies with Tochigi beef.

The great view from one of Japan's best mountain stream open-air hot springs

a splendid mountain stream open-air hot spring! nasu shiobara's yumori tanakaya | the great view from one of japan's best mountain stream open-air hot springs

Those of you who want to try an open-air bath next to a mountain river should come here! The open-air bath of this old Japanese style inn called “Yumori Tanakaya” is said to be one of the best in Japan. It’s located inside Nikko National Park so everything is surrounded by wild nature. Descend the 320 stairs in the forest and you’ll see the beautiful Hokigawa River. The hot spring water gushes from the river bed and there’s an open-air bath made of stone right next to the stream.

The biggest bath is called Senkyoyu and provides the best view. Kawarayu and Ishimayu baths are so close to the river that you can touch the stream. They accommodate 3 to 4 people maximum and are very basic. The best thing is that these baths are surrounded by the wild nature of the forest and all you can hear is the murmur of Hokigawa’s stream and the chirpings of the birds. You’ll be extremely delighted to spend your time here.

In fact, all the baths are gender-mixed. Women can enter with a towel, but for those who aren’t used to gender-mixed baths, there is also the women’s bath “Bijin no Yu”. It has a roof for privacy reasons. You can visit these baths on a day trip (but there are some days which are reserved only for guests of the inn). You can also go at night time, as the baths are illuminated, but I recommend the daylight when you can actually enjoy the nature around you. 320 steps might be quite a lot, but it’s worth the experience!

"Keikoku Bath" offers a picture-perfect panorama

a splendid mountain stream open-air hot spring! nasu shiobara's yumori tanakaya | "keikoku bath" offers a picture-perfect panorama

About 20 steps down the inn is “Keikoku Bath” – an open-air bath only for guests of the inn. The panorama view from here is splendid. It changes according to the season and is different than the one you see from the other baths next to the river. This one is gender-divided. It can be used anytime, as there’s a roof. Unfortunately, this bath cannot be booked for a private group during the day, but if you’re lucky there might not be anyone else around.

After 7:30 pm it becomes a private bath for families. The surrounding trees are illuminated and create a mystical atmosphere together with the sound of the river below.

The indoor bath "Tenbo" is great too!

a splendid mountain stream open-air hot spring! nasu shiobara's yumori tanakaya | the indoor bath "tenbo" is great too!
Source: Yumori Tanakaya

The indoor bath “Tenbo” on the top floor of the inn provides a great panorama view too. It’s only for guests of the inn and entirely indoors.

From the windows you can see the beautiful mountains. I recommend coming here in early when the morning mist is particularly magnificent. You can only see this picturesque view in mornings. There is another bath called “Neyu” where you can relax completely to the point of almost falling asleep, because the water is pleasant – 39-40 degrees. There are more baths, a hot tub and a sauna as well.

The reasonable price makes this place quite attractive

a splendid mountain stream open-air hot spring! nasu shiobara's yumori tanakaya | the reasonable price makes this place quite attractive
Source: Yumori Tanakaya

After enjoying the hot springs it’s time to rest a bit in your room. This inn has standard Japanese-style rooms as well as special rooms with a private open-air bath. All of them are spacious and harmonious in the true Japanese spirit.

Some of the most popular rooms are the one with a panorama view bath made of cypress tree and the one in a modern Japanese-Western style. The prices are quite reasonable compared to other traditional Japanese inns. For example one night with two meals at the room with the cypress tree bath costs 22 000 JPY per person, while the modern-style room is 15 000 JPY. You can also choose to have dinner served in the room! This great value price includes a hot spring with a panorama view, a fantastic room and delicious food!

Dinner is either room service or a meal around a sunken fireplace

dinner is either room service or a meal around a sunken fireplace

You can choose between a dinner served in your room or around a sunken fireplace. Be sure to say what you prefer when you make the booking.

Those who want to eat leisurely and have kids should opt for the room service dinner. After a relaxation in the hot spring you’d want to eat something delicious and fall asleep in your room. This is quite extraordinary.

For those who want to experience a sunken fireplace dinner, the inn will prepare a special meal. You’ll see how they grill the fish, meat and vegetables right in front of you. There’s nothing like the taste of a well-grilled meal with fresh ingredients.

Actually, all meals include local ingredients no matter which option you prefer. Everything is delicious – the soft and juicy Tochigi beef, the local vegetables grown on the mountain slopes and the fresh fish caught in the river. Even the rice, the spices and the natural water used for cooking are carefully selected.

Yumori Tanakaya's charm is not only in the brilliant view

But the biggest pride of this hot spring inn is the quality of its water! This hot spring is rich in sulfates which are considered essential for skin beautification. The water has a moisturizing effect and makes your skin instantly polished and soft. In the old times this hot spring was used to heal wounds – you might notice that small wounds will recover overnight!

You can also drink the hot spring water. There are several places in the inn where you can drink the water, so be sure to try. It’s good for the stomach, the metabolism and the skin. The 320 stairs and the skin beautification hot spring water will definitely make this trip a return to your youth.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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