Nassa Onsen in Wakayama is probably only known by onsen fanatics. It simply isn’t well known. Nassa onsen, close to the Nanki Katsuura Onsen area, only has one place of accommodations. The Momijiya.
The outdoor bath isn’t particularly extravagant, but it has a slightly tepid water that smells strongly of sulfur and has a huge water output. I strongly recommend this place for those who like fresh hot spring water.
A lone hotel
The onsen is written as Natsu San Onsen but it is read as Nassa Onsen.
Momijiya doesn’t look like a hotel but more like an inn. Actually its more like a residential house than anything. There is no relation between a good onsen and a luxurious accommodation. In my experience these little hole in the wall joints have the best onsen quality.
How do you choose which onsen inn to stay at? The atmosphere of the outdoor bath? The size of the bath or the view? Or is it the atmosphere of the hotel or its accommodations?
Momijiya, doesn’t really fit in any of those criteria honestly, so why not try using the freshness of the hot spring as criteria next time and come try it out. I am sure you will appreciate the value and splendor of the onsen fully this way.
A retro modern entrance and lobby
Just by looking from the exterior you would imagine a Japanese style interior but that would be completely off the mark. The flooring is wood and there is a sofa in the lobby. It’s kind of a rustic retro modern style. From the entrance if you go down the left hall you come to the bath.
There is a Sapporo beer vending machine as well. After a bath those that are staying the night or aren’t driving can have a beer here. I am sure there is nothing better in terms of happiness than a beer after a long bath.
A bath with current in it? (the men's bath)
Momijiya has a bath separate for men and women each. The bath for men is only this one here. And the only tub is this one. There is no outdoor bath.
Look closely at the image though. You will see this little tub has so much hot spring water being poured into it, it has a current in the tub and spills over in huge amounts. This is a great example of an onsen that’s tapped directly into the source spring!
The amount of water overflowing from the tub makes the floor like a river. If you have a bath pail sitting around it will be washed away if you’re not careful.
Also, the water type is sulfuric so the smell of boiled eggs fills the room! Most onsen lovers will revel in happiness here I bet.
Again, with this small a tub and this amount of water you will probably be bathing in some of the freshest hot spring water available.
Another bath that has a current? (the women's bath)
If you can believe it the women’s bath is even smaller than the men’s. The tiles are a light pink and lends to a cute yet unencumbered feel to the space.
The amount of water seems the same as the men’s bath though. Which of course means the water flowing over the edge is much more volume. This proves that the women’s bath has even fresher hot spring water.
To the ladies out there. Don’t be disappointed by the size of the bathroom or the tub. The water here is fresher than in the men’s bath.
Just to let you know, the water here is on the tepid side so you should take a long bath to warm up fully.
I, Onsen Sommelier Gucchi am in bathing bliss now!
With onsens there is “freshness” something that can’t be explained by just temperature or onsen type. Put it this way, would you rather have an ice cold beer that was just poured or a beer that has been poured an hour ago? In a way you can say the same about onsens.
Of course everyone enjoys hot springs in their own way, and there is no single right way to do so. I urge you to enjoy onsens in your own way.
But once you bathe here and close your eyes and just slowly breathe deeply your whole body down to the cellular level will let out a sigh of happiness.
The feel of the hot spring water here is fairly soft and has a slippery feel to it. It softens up the skin and I wouldn’t be far off from saying this is a real beautifying onsen. When you get out of the water skin easily dries because of the nature of this water. As such, women should remember to hydrate and use a lotion to counteract this.
There is no fresher onsen and should be enjoyed by more people
The certificate of onsen analysis here isn’t new and from 1964. So the water might be a bit different today than what’s written on paper, but it really is an amazing hot spring regardless.
Because of its alkaline sulfur properties the aroma of boiled eggs is very strong here. The water isn’t super-hot so you can bathe for a very long time without tiring out. Although I said on the tepid side it’s enough to warm you up so don’t worry.
You might be thinking “oh no outdoor bath?” or “the look of this place is kinda…” but I urge you to try it here just once. You will no doubt think “A living onsen feels sooo good!!”.
Although Wakayama is right next to Osaka, Nassa Onsen Momijiya is not that close as you might think as its pretty far south in Wakayama. Though it may be a bit far I really think everyone should come visit this unknown onsen.
[Name] Nassa Onsen Momijiya [Address] 649-5336 Daigaku Yukawa Nassa 3830, Nachikatsuura town, Higashimuro District Wakayama Prefecture [Tel] 0735-52-0409 [Visitor bath hours] 15:00~19:30 300 JPY
*About the onsen, [Onsen type] basic sulfuric spring [Water use] straight from spring (no added water, no added heat, and no antibiotics added.) [pH] ? (by my estimate its alkaline) [Temp] 41? (it feels more like 39 to 40)