Translated by Takuya Erik Watanabe
3 Unique Onsen Hot Springs In Aomori You Need To Visit!
Written by Keisuke Yamada
Aomori prefecture boasts various unique onsen hot springs. Some are by the sea and some accommodate 1000 people. In this article we will introduce 3 of our favorite.
Located at the northernmost point of Honshu is Aomori prefecture. The region boasts various onsen hot springs, each found in unique locations, such as in the depths of the mountains or right by the sea.
Today we'll be sharing three unique onsen hot springs that you can find in Aomori. Access might be harder than the normal hot spring town, but they are all once-in-a-lifetime experiences that are well worth the visit.
1. Right by the Sea - Koganezaki Furofushi Onsen
Koganezaki Furofushi Onsen is a seaside hot spring located in the town of Fukaura. As you can you can see in the photo above, the outdoor spa has become one with the shore, boasting an unmatched view of the Sea of Japan. There are two outdoor baths, one for both sexes and one for women only. The photo above is the mixed bath.
The Furofushi Onsen contains plenty of iron and you will be able to smell it when bathing. You might also be startled by the brown-colored water at first sight, but once you've stepped in you'll feel your body steadily being warmed.
A simple shelf and baskets are available by the bath where you will take off your clothes. Women can also change at the women-only bath first and wrap a towel around your body before heading to the mixed bath.
You might feel nervous if this is your first time experiencing a mixed bath but as long as you're prepared with a towel, you should have nothing to worry about.
2. 1000 People Bathing at Once - Sukayu Onsen
Sukayu Onsen is located at the foot of Mt. Hakkoda in Aomori. True to its name ("su" means "acid"), the hot spring has a high acidity.
Its most unique feature, as can be seen from the photo above, is the Sennin Buro, hot springs where many people can bathe at once. The building itself is also unique, made completely from Hiba wood, and has an atmosphere reminiscent of older times.
Sukayu Onsen has two large baths (Atsu no Yu and Shiburokubu no Yu) as well as an utaseyu (meaning "beating water"). The Atsu no Yu and Shiburokubu no Yu are located next to each other, but each draws water from separate springs and have different qualities.
While Atsu no Yu may seem like it would be hotter (because "atsu" means "hot" in Japanese), it actually is somewhat lukewarm because it uses water straight from its spring. Atsu no Yu got its name from the idea of taking one's time to relax in lukewarm water until the body is warmed to the core. On the other hand, the Shiburokubu no Yu mixes water with the spring water, but is hotter than the Atsu no Yu due to the spring water's originally high temperature.
You can't wash your body at the Sennin Buro, so you should do this at the Tama no Yu, which can be found in the same building.
3. The Warmth of Hiba - Tsuta Onsen
Tsuta Onsen is a hot spring located in the city of Towada. It's found in the middle of a virgin beech forest called the Towada Jukai. It's a hidden onsen, with not a single convenience store in the surrounding area. The main building was built in the Taisho Period, and offers visitors a time-travel like experience.
Each guest room has different decor, so guests can enjoy a new experience every time they visit.
Tsuta Onsen is known for its Hiba bath, the Kyuan no Yu. It's a great spot to relax as you'll feel the warmth of not only the hot water, but also the wooden bathtub itself. Hot water enters the bath from beneath it, so you can feel the onsen water warming you up from below.
What did you think? Kusatsu in Gunma prefecture and Hakone in Kanagawa are renowned onsen hot springs, but they aren't the only ones that Japan has to offer. If you're looking for a unique hot spring experience, how about stopping by Aomori?
Address: Aomori, Nishitsugaru, Fukaura, Shimokiyotaki 15
Bathing Hours: Sunrise-Sunset (overnight guests), 8:00-16:00 (bathing only)
Wi-Fi: Yes (lobby only)
Nearest Station: JR WeSPa-Tsubakiyama Station, shuttle bus available
Price Range: Adult 600 yen / Child 300 yen
Phone Number: +81-173-74-3500
Official Website: Furofushi Onsen
Address: Aomori, Aomori, Arakawa, Minamiarakawayama Kokuyurin, Sukayusawa 50
Bathing Hours: 7:00-17:30 (8:00-9:00 women only)
Access: From Aomori Station (east exit), 70 minutes by JR bus, alight at Sukayu Onsenmae / From Shin-Aomori Station, 80 minutes by JR bus, alight at Sukayu Onsenmae
Price Range: 600 yen (for either Hiba Sennin Buro or Tama no Yu only) / 1000 yen (for both baths, towel included)
Phone Number: +81-17-738-6400
Official Website: Sukayu Onsen (Japanese)
Address: Aomori, Towada, Okuse, Tsutanoyu 1
Bathing Hours: Women 10:00-12:00, 21:00-8:00 / Men 13:00-20:00
Access: From JR Aomori Station (or JR Shin-Aomori Station), JR Bus Mizuumi, alight at Tsuta Onsen
Price Range: Adult 800 yen / Child 500 yen (elementary school student)
Phone Number: +81-176-74-2311
Official Website: Tsuta Onsen