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The Holy Land for Onsen Sommeliers? the Head of Onsen Sommeliers Hotel Toma Ryokan in Akakura Onsen, Niigata

The Holy Land for Onsen Sommeliers? the Head of Onsen Sommeliers Hotel Toma Ryokan in Akakura Onsen, Niigata
Onsen Sommelier Gucchi
Onsen Sommelier Gucchi
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Toma Ryokan in Akakura Onsen, Niigata is place that not only me but onsen sommeliers the world over would like to visit at least once.

The reason is because the head of the Onsen Sommelier Association which boasts over 5000 members runs this hotel.

The hot springs here at Toma Ryokan will not disappoint with its’ onsen water which is direct from the source spring with no water, heat, or antibiotics added. This time I want to introduce the real deal onsen that you will never regret bathing in.

This is Toma Ryokan the place I longed to visit!

the holy land for onsen sommeliers? the head of onsen sommeliers hotel toma ryokan in akakura onsen, niigata | this is toma ryokan the place i longed to visit!

Toma Ryokan stands on the main street of Akakura Onsen town.

As it is a 5 story building you might think there isn’t much history here but as of now the owner is the 5th generation owner making it a long established hotel.

I wonder if the lack of pomp and glitz is part of their strategy.

As soon as I entered the head of the onsen sommeliers greeted me with a wide smile welcoming me in.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Niigata, Niigata (prefecture), Japan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Niigata, Niigata (prefecture), Japan

First order of business, to the onsen!

the holy land for onsen sommeliers? the head of onsen sommeliers hotel toma ryokan in akakura onsen, niigata | first order of business, to the onsen!

I was lucky because I arrived before the staying guests arrived so I was first in the bath today.

There is one bath each for men and women.

There is no outdoor bath that is popular lately with most other onsens.

Apparently they won’t build one because of their dedication to the hot spring water quality and volume of the water coming out.

I agree as they would most likely need to add water to the hot spring water thinning it out and would need a recirculation system as well to make a bath outdoor here.

The perfect answer from such a knowledgeable person, the head of the onsen sommeliers.

Another great thing about having it indoor only is the aroma of the onsen can fill this room completely.

It almost feels like being enveloped in an onsen mist.

The mens bath is a bit larger than the women’s it seems.

There are dividers in the bath to separate into hot and warm on the right and left.

This is the best way to lower the temp without adding water to the hot spring water.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Niigata, Niigata (prefecture), Japan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Niigata, Niigata (prefecture), Japan

A bath of joy

the holy land for onsen sommeliers? the head of onsen sommeliers hotel toma ryokan in akakura onsen, niigata | a bath of joy

I was able to enjoy myself fully here as I had it all to myself.

As of late I am a stickler for the “freshness” of onsens so I almost don’t need an outdoor bath.

(Of course there are some that I love that have a fantastic view.)

From the spout of the hot spring the scent of sulfur is very much alive and well. Also, a slight plaster scent is present.

The Akagura Onsen draws from the Kita Jigoku Dani Sengen (the north hell’s valley hot spring) but it remains fairly fresh.

The hot water is alive.

This is what I felt.

The water felt soft and silky.

The hot water was about 42℃ and the cooler bath was about 40℃.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Niigata, Niigata (prefecture), Japan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Niigata, Niigata (prefecture), Japan

The spout was covered in deposits

the holy land for onsen sommeliers? the head of onsen sommeliers hotel toma ryokan in akakura onsen, niigata | the spout was covered in deposits

The spout was flowing continuously with living onsen water.

I wouldn’t say it is a copious amount but for the size of the bath and the capacity it was more than enough.

The spout is lit up with a spot light.

A tasteful effect.

The deposits on the spout make it look like a limestone cave.

Reminding you of how concentrated the minerals are in this water.

It is hot closer to the spout but to get the most out of the fresh hot spring water you have to get close.

To be mindful of others it’s a good idea to wash thoroughly before doing this tho.

If you use all five senses to experience onsens you’ll start noticing the differences, and personalities each has.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Niigata, Niigata (prefecture), Japan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Niigata, Niigata (prefecture), Japan

After bathing a friendly chat with the boss

after bathing a friendly chat with the boss

After a nice long bath I was able to have a wonderful conversation with the head of the onsen sommeliers.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Niigata, Niigata (prefecture), Japan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Niigata, Niigata (prefecture), Japan

Akakura Onsen

Akakura Onsen is well known for a place to go skiing, so enjoying a long bath during ski season is a bit difficult most likely with so many ski enthusiasts around.

So, if you are just going for the onsen I suggest going between spring and fall.

Also, Akakura Onsen is part of the Myoko Onsen Resort so there are other types of onsen such the white opaque waters at Tsubameonsen, and the brownish orange waters at Seki Onsen so you can do some onsen hopping if you want.

[Name] Toma Ryokan [Address] 949-2111, Akakura 34-2, Myoko City, Niigata Prefecture [Tel] 0255-87-2028 [Hours] 3pm to 8pm *please always confirm beforehand [Closed] always open * please always confirm beforehand [Price] 500 JPY

[Onsen type] calcium, sodium, magnesium sulfate, sodium bicarbonate [Water use] straight from spring (not heated, added water, no antibiotics) [pH] 6.6 (neutral) [Temp] 51.1℃

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