Ever heard of Hacho-yu, the secret onsen hidden in the mountains far away from Nikko’s touristy areas? Guests staying here can enjoy looking at a beautiful waterfall while relaxing in the hot spring. Log cabin style private lodging and regular hotel style rooms (located in the main building) are available. The log cabins are quite unique in Japan, and have a lot of special features!
Read on to learn more about Hacho-yu, the little-known hot spring hotel with mixed gender baths for couples and families that’s sure to soothe your troubles away.
Hidden Away in the Mountains
Okukinu Onsenkyo (where Hacho-yu is located) is a secret spring set deep in the mountains. Kinunuma marsh and Kinunuma river, which are great for a stroll, are popular natural sightseeing destinations located nearby.
There are only two ways to reach the Hacho-yu lodge – a one hour walk, or a ride in the hotel’s shuttle. I guess that’s why it’s called the final frontier of the Kanto region!
There’s more to do in the area than just visiting the lodge. It’s famous for hiking trails. At Hacho-yu, they’ll point you in the direction of a number of great trails, such as Kinunuma marsh, which sits at an elevation of 2000 meters!
Together is Better! Have a Soak with your Family or as a Couple
A big selling point for Hacho-yu is the 100% natural flowing hot spring water used in its baths. It has qualities befitting a famous onsen, such as neutral acidity, low tonicity water that’s gentle on the skin and body, and spring water gushing out from 8 separate locations on the mountain.
Scientific onsen jargon aside, the real reason I can recommend this place is because it has mixed-gender baths! If you’ve ever been to an onsen with your boyfriend/girlfriend or family, you know the lonely feeling when you enter into the separate bathing areas and say “see you later”.
If you visit Hacho-yu, you can spend more time together, talking and enjoying the waterfall and scenery!
Introducing Hacho-yu's Log Cabins: Imported Canadian Logs!
When visiting Hacho-yu, it’s definitely worth it to stay in the log cabins. Instead of using Japanese wood, they opted to have logs shipped over from Canada, meaning they have a different color and shape from what one would normally find in Japan.
At Hacho-yu, you can choose from a log cabin with a Japanese style room (with or without loft), a regular Japanese hotel room, large Japanese hotel room, or a log cabin 2 room package.
The First of Its Kind: a Japanese Style Room in a Log Cabin
There’s another reason these log cabins are special – the floors are made with Japanese tatami mats! They call it the log house washitsu.
It sounds like a bit of a strange combination at first, but the open space created by the high ceiling actually pairs very well with the clean, warm tatami mats. It creates an enigmatic, relaxing space.
Even more to Enjoy! Haccho-no-yu's Exceptional Drinking Water
Hacho-yu’s carefully designed interior and furniture are worth mentioning as well. Despite being deep in the mountains and having lots of places for dust to collect, the rooms are kept very clean.
The drinking water at Hacho-yu falls right in line with these high standards. It’s not a well known-fact, but many onsens struggle to provide good drinking water, because trying to dig a well where there’s a hot spring will only get you hot spring water. Hacho-yu is one of the few onsens able to provide natural spring water for drinking from a completely separate source, located just within its reach.
Enjoy both natural hot spring and natural drinking water during your stay.
Be One with Nature at this Secret Nikko Lodge
At Nikko’s Hacho-yu in the depths of the mountains, you’ll find lots of exotic bugs and animals. Take the chance to be surrounded by the clean mountain air and refresh your mind and body.
Translator’s Note: “For those unfamiliar, most hot springs (onsens in Japanese) have separate bathing areas for males and females. The onsen in this article and other mixed (konyoku) onsens have separate areas for males and females to shower, and often feature separate as well as mixed bathing areas so that guests can choose to spend their time in private or with their partner or family. Most guests to mixed onsens are mature and respectful. Be adventurous and give it a try. You won’t regret it.”