When I first learned of this place it surprised the hell out of me. Kita Onsen has a real life Onsen Pool. Although I say pool it is an onsen. Kind of right in between an onsen and a pool.
For those that love onsens they will recognize this as being part of the set of “THERMAE ROMAE” the movie about onsens that popularized this one in particular. Although popularized, I was lucky, when I visited there were only a few small groups of people, so I was able to enjoy all of this onsen’s offerings to the fullest.
Kita Onsen Ryokan a single inn at a secluded onsen
Kita Onsen has long been on my onsen bucket list. I was finally able to go this summer.
Kita Onsen is further down the road as a lone inn past the Nasu Yumoto Onsen. After parking in the public parking space it is a 10 minute walk. It truly is secluded. It has a long history dating back to the Edo Period.
This time I because of time constraints I was only able to take a visitor bath here, but it far exceeded any expectations I had. First off you can’t get here directly by car! After parking you have to walk a good 400m. Walking 10 minutes or so you come to a small lone onsen inn, Kita Onsen Ryokan.
Although it is close to the famous Nasu Kougen hills, it is secluded and not known. I am happy to say there are a total of 5 baths here at the Kita Onsen Ryokan.
First off while holding down my excitement to rush over I checked out the outdoor pool? Onsen?
Oyogiyu (swim bath) the famous outdoor bath? Pool?
Just look at this! This is all hot spring water in a pool, well actually outdoor bath, wait a minute, pool? Not sure but either way… All of this is fed by hot spring water direct from the source of the spring! This is only possible because of the copious amount of hot spring water. When I visited it was still summer and still hot weather wise. But it was exhilarating. Winter might actually be too cold here.
You can wear bathing suits here at Oyogiyu. But of course being an Onsen Sommelier I swam stark naked…
This place really makes me realize there are some great onsens in Japan.
Ai no Yu the indoor bath
This is the AI no Yu indoor bath which is adjacent to the Oyogi Yu outdoor bath. This little bath shack has a lot of atmosphere that really excites bath lovers like me! Wow, how rustic this is. The hot water flows in copiously, almost seems like a waste, or opulent. Either way it’s just awesome.
Can you believe that 1620 liters per minute of this hot spring water flows out naturally? Yes you read right that’s naturally flowing!
That’s why they can just let it flow like this without worry.
Amazing, doesn’t even begin to describe this place.
Kawara no Yu, the river onsen
This is the small outdoor bath right next to a river. From the men’s side here you can see a waterfall made from concrete. This bath is also just flowing with hot water nonstop.
The coed bath Tengu no Yu
As you can see there is a huge Tengu mask on the wall. If you step in here at night without knowing it’ll scare the crap out of you. This bath which is mostly coed has rushing hot spring water flowing in, and from the edge of the bath water falls down like a running river.
For visitors it is 700JPY to bathe in the baths I detailed above.
There is also a women only bath the Me no Yu.
There are three main springs feeding the Kita Onsen, each are a bit different in type but all are is classified as a simple hot spring (hot spring with a hypotonic low alkaline level). Because it’s simple hot spring type it has no color and clear but there is a slight hint of that onsen scent we all know and love!
A stay here costs a very reasonable 7500 JPY a night which includes 2 meals. I am totally envious of people who live in the Kanto region. I bet in autumn like now it is absolutely beautiful with the leaves changing color.
This time I didn’t stay the night but promised myself that the next time I would as I left this spectacular place. If I stayed I probably would have swam in the onsen pool under a night sky full of stars, would have been nice.
I definitely recommend Kita Onsen
Kita Onsen Ryokan Onsen type simple Visitor time 8:30am to 4pm Price 700 JPY 1 night stay price with 2 meals 7500 JPY and up