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Keep warm in Akita’s winter with oden, ramen, and a mixed-gender open-air bath



If you are an aficionado of onsen (hot spring) and plan to visit Akita Prefecture in the Tohoku region, make Nyuto Onsen a must on your itinerary. 


Part of the Towada-Hachimantai National Park, Nyuto Onsen is a collection of onsen ryokan (hot-spring resort) in the mountains of eastern Akita. In winter, the area transforms into a dazzling canvas of warm milky spring waters and thick blankets of snow―absolutely stunning! 

Among the many ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) is Tsurunoyu. With a history that dates back to the 1600s, it is Nyuto Onsen's oldest and most famous inn. This mixed-gender open-air bath is so popular that it’s hard to get reservations for it. 


Stop for pictures at a suspension bridge in the Dakigaeri Valley.


On the way, stop at famous diner Sengan Tōge Chaya, just 30 minutes out from Tsurunoyu. Tucked into the side of a scenic cliff along National Route 46, it’s famous for its steaming hot oden (one-pot stew). A variety of noodles is also available; you can never go wrong with the classic Chashu Ramen. 
Aside from delicious food, the café, which overlooks the whole valley, offers some jaw-dropping views. If you are lucky (and time your visit well), you may even catch sight of Akita Komachi Shinkansen (bullet train) while enjoying your meal! 



Pay homage to Hachiko. Japan’s beloved dog, revered for its loyalty, has its own statute.


Other nearby places of interest include: 


- Dakigaeri Valley. Roughly 45 minutes’ drive from Tsurunoyu Onsen, this is a large valley with beautiful panoramic views, best visited during summer and autumn as the routes leading into the Tama River hike are closed during winter.


- Hachiko’s Birthplace. Near Odate Station, about two hours’ drive from Tsurunoyu onsen, is the birth home of Hachiko, a dog of the Akita breed revered for its loyalty towards its owner. Keep your eyes peeled for a public toilet, designed in the shape of the Akita Inu (dog), across the street! 



Admire Akita’s winters from the warmth of a cozy diner.


Click here for more information on the facilities mentioned in this article.



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