Ranked number 1 in a poll by the Mainichi Newspaper’s Ninth The Inn With Your favorite Outdoor Bath Ranking. The Manza Onsen’s Nisshinkan is located between Gunma Prefecture, Nagano Prefecture, and Niigata Prefecture in the Jyoshinetsu Kogen National Park and boasts superb hot spring water and amazing amounts of water flow. This time we take a look at the outdoor bath that has visitors feeling they went to heaven The Manza Onsen Nisshinkan’s outdoor bath with a view, “Gokurakuyu”. What makes it the best? Let’s find out.
The perfect heavenly bath! Gokurakuyu, the outdoor bath with a view
At 1800m above sea level, Manza Onsen located in Gunma Prefecture is Japan’s highest onsen, as well as the onsen with the most sulfur content! There are 9 different onsen inns in Manza Onsen of various sizes, but the only one with an outdoor bath from where you can see the whole area is only Manza Onsen Nisshinkan.
The outdoor bath here is called Gokurakuyu (heaven’s bath). In front of you is a majestic view of Mt. Manza and Mt. Kumashiroyama! The water type is awesome and because of its 1800m above sea level height, once you step in you can’t help but feel you are in a bath in heaven. This is why it’s called Gokurakuyu. As time passes while in this bath both your body and soul start to unwind.
The water is acidic with sulfuric magnesium and sodium. This water is good for curing dermatitis as well as increasing blood flow and metabolism. The sulfur is especially good for skin and is said to be beautifying. It isn’t well known but sulfur breaks down melanin. Melanin is what causes blemishes and can be dangerous. Because it breaks down this melanin it is said to be a whitening and beautifying bath. On top of that the water in Manza Onsen contains the most sulfur of any hot spring bath in Japan. It has tons of beautifying properties.
The outdoor bath only a 1 minute walk from the main building
Manza Onsen Nisshinkan’s prize outdoor bath, Gokurakuyu is only 70m away from the main building. Inside the wild shack there is a heater that keeps you warm even during the coldest winters.
The lockers are free to use. Here is a good place to remove all your jewelry. The hot spring here at Manza Onsen is acidic sulfur in composition so metals especially silver, will oxidize and turn black quickly. Be careful for those who are keeping them on.
Not just beautifying but helps with the overweight!
The hot spring water temperature at Manza Onsen is 66.5℃. To lower this temperature Manza Onsen only uses natural spring water. The water color is a slight bluish creamy color. When there is a lot of gaseous sulfur in the water it turns milky like this. This milky type of onsen is said to be good for overweight people by helping with diabetes and high blood pressure. It is recommended for those who are noticing a little bulge around their waist recently.
For this writer who loves to look for skin beautifying things, one thing that interested me was the metasilicic acid. Metasilicic acid helps with breaking down old skin. If it is more than 100mg then it’s good. What was surprising was at Manza Onsen the metasilicic acid content was 258.6mg! It is definitely a high number!
If you look closely in the water you can see floating around white “bath flowers”. (Bath flowers are the crystalized minerals of a hot spring). This is proof that you can physically see of the onsen’s potency.
Sulfur is said to have 10 times the absorption rate of water. If you aren’t used to hot springs you might get sick. A good thing to do is not bathe too long and take frequent breaks and get a feel for the onsen’s power.
Watch the raw water flow from the course mountainside!
From Gokurakuyu you can see the Manza Onsen’s hot spring field. You can see exactly where they are drawing the hot spring water from clearly. In the past here was the oldest medicinal spa in Manza Onsen. Unfortunately in 2007 it was taken down, but to this day there are many who flock here for long stays to reap the rewards of the hot spring water’s properties.
Before bathing try the famous Manza spring water “Ouko no Mizu”
At the entrance of Manza Onsen Nisshinkan there is a space where you can drink the famous spring water of Manza “Ouko no Mizu”. This water is from Mt. Omeshitake which is part of Gunma Prefecture’s 100 famous mountains. Amongst the natural beech forests there is the Meijinzawa stream, this is where this water is drawn from. This water is where salamanders, which can only live in extremely clean water, used to live in the past. Its recommended to drink this really pure water before bathing. Hydrating before bathing allows your blood to flow better.
Don’t forget to bathe in the large bath house “Choju no Yu” which draws from 2 hot springs at Manza
There is a very spacious indoor bath here at Manza Onsen Nisshinkan’s main building which draws 2 different hot spring water (Niga-yu, and Uba-yu), called Choju no Yu. There is also an indoor bath which smells like bamboo leaves called “Sasanoyu” and an outdoor bath with a roof on it, so you can definitely enjoy a variety of baths here. *for visitors who aren’t staying the Gokurakuyu and Choju no Yu are available. Also, for those staying, there is a bus that goes directly to Manza Onsen from Shinjuku in Tokyo which is affordable and easy.
Manza Onsen is also well known as an onsen area where you can enjoy winter sports as well. If you like to ski or snowboard pair it up with a relaxing hot spring bath.
*In winter route 292 and Makihoshimata road are usually closed by snow. If you are traveling by car use the Manza Highway detour. (snow chains are needed during winter)
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.