8 Winter Onsens in Tohoku | Where to Warm up in Northern Japan

Tohoku Region in the north of Japan is known for having beautiful snow scenes and is a competitive destination for snow sports. After enjoying beautiful snow scenes and snow sports, how about having a rest at some famous hot springs to warm up your mind and body? Find some of the top onsens in Tohoku below.

Onsens in Tohoku-Aomori Prefecture - Sukayu Onsen

Aomori Prefecture – Sukayu Onsen

Sukayu Onsen has been around for over 300 years. It is located in a heavy snowfall area of Aomori Prefecture, dubbed as the secret hot spring in Mt. Hakkoda. It also is known as a hot spring that might have positive effects for physical disorders with its strongly acidic hot water. Besides the hot springs, people know about the area for its retro “Hiba Sennin Bath,” which is a large mixed bathing bath the size of 160 tatami mats (over 250 sqm). There are also separate baths for men and women.

Onsens in Tohoku-Iwate Prefecture - Yugawa Onsen -yamado

Iwate Prefecture – Yugawa Onsen-yamado-

Yukawa Onsen-yamado- is a hideaway ryokan with only 12 guest rooms in Iwate Prefecture. Guests staying in this area will be blessed with nature and an abundance of seasonal dishes. Travelers can enjoy the handmade Kamakura snow domes in the courtyard. They even illuminate the snow shrine creating a romantic atmosphere.

Onsens in Tohoku-Iwate Prefecture - Yugawa Onsen -yamado

In addition, the nearest train station, the JR Kitakami Line Hottoyuda Station, is a unique station having its own hot spring inside the building. One can enjoy the large bath containing completely natural water direct from a hot spring. There is a three-colored signal (green, yellow, and red) inside the bathing area that indicates when a train is approaching the station. A winter trip to Japan won’t be completed if you miss the Kamakura and this onsen.

Onsens in Tohoku-Akita Prefecture - Nyuto Onsen

Akita Prefecture – Nyuto Onsen

Nyuto Onsenkyo is located far away from the city center and was formerly enjoyed only by the locals. Nowadays, it is a hidden hot spring attracting hot spring enthusiasts from all over Japan. There are over 10 types of hot springs, and the area is home to seven hot spring inns, each with their own sources of spring water. It also is said that the hot spring water there has impressive effects against all diseases. If you are a hot spring fan, visit and take a tour around to conquer as many baths as you can.

Onsens in Tohoku-Akita Prefecture - Nyuto Onsen
Onsens in Tohoku-Matsushima Onsen - Miyagi Prefecture

Miyagi Prefecture – Matsushima Onsen

Matsushima in Miyagi Prefecture is one of the three most scenic spots in Japan. One famous activity on the island is to bake the famous local specialty Sasa Kamaboko by yourself and enjoy fresh oysters. On this island, travelers can have a rest at Matsushima Onsen after a long day of sightseeing, relaxing in the wonderful nature. Soaking in the hot springs for smooth skin with the view of 260 large and small islands in Matsushima Bay and the red bridge girders outside is definitely worth a try.

Onsens in Tohoku-Sendai City - Akiu Onsen

Sendai City – Akiu Onsen

Akiho Onsen, a popular hot spring in the 1500s that was visited regularly by feudal lords of the Date Clan, is located conveniently just 30 minutes by car from Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture. It also is known to be one of the three well-known hot springs in the Oshu area. People used to refer to it as an Okuzashiki, a tourist spot in the suburbs. Travelers can see the magnificent waterfalls and canyons surrounding the ryokan. It is recommended to take a walk while admiring the stunning nature, such as that seen in Rairaikyo Gorge. Akiu Onsen is the best place to heal your tiredness immediately after a long day of sightseeing.

Onsens in Tohoku-Yamagata Prefecture - Ginzan Onsen

Yamagata Prefecture – Ginzan Onsen

Ginzan Onsen recently has gained much attention as being a setting for Japan’s iconic drama, “Oshin.” It is the hot spring town where wooden architecture is covered with snow, offering a retro atmosphere as if you have traveled back in time. The scenery becomes dreamier and more astonishing when the ryokan’s street is illuminated at night. We also recommend you rent a kimono or hakama and take a walk in this charming townscape. You also can enjoy the Yukimi-Buro open-air bath (Snow View Baths), which is unique to heavy snowfall areas.

Onsens in Tohoku-Fukushima Prefecture - Iwaki Yumoto Onsen

Fukushima Prefecture – Iwaki Yumoto Onsen

With a history of over 1,600 years, Iwaki Yumoto Onsen is said to be one of the three oldest hot springs in Japan. The hot spring water flows from a deep source containing plenty of good ingredients for the skin. People also call it “Hot Spring for the Beauty.” In addition, the temperature there is quite warm all year-round, and it is near the sea, so don’t miss some tasty seafood dishes on your trip.

Onsens in Tohoku-Fukushima Prefecture - Iwaki Yumoto Onsen
Onsens in Tohoku-Niigata Prefecture - Akakura Onsen

Niigata Prefecture – Akakura Onsen

This hot spring town has been around for over 200 years and is located on a high altitude of about 800 meters. Akakura Onsen-no-Yu is famous for its two positive effects of the hot spring water – beautiful skin and healing wounds. This ryokan town has various facilities so one can enjoy more than just one accommodation. Especially in winter, the town is usually crowded with skiers. What can be better than soaking in the warm baths after playing snow sports?

Top Hotels in Tohoku

Ryokan Yusen Shidate

Ryokan Yusen Shidate

Iwate Ryokan Abalone Dishes Taro-An

Iwate Ryokan Abalone Dishes Taro-An



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