Hot Springs and Local Demons
Oga Onsen is a group of hot springs and hotels on the Oga Peninsula, a short cape jutting off Japan's remote northwest coast. Here, you can immerse yourself in the area's charming, slow-paced way of life.
The Oga Peninsula is famous for Namahage, a folkloric demon figure who is said to scare naughty and lazy children. You will find fearsome Namahage masks and straw costumes throughout the area.
The waters at Oga have a high salt content, which helps preserve the water's heat. The salt waters are also believed to be beneficial to the skin, relieving skin conditions like eczema while also soothing tired muscles.
If you want to take a break from soaking, the Namahage Museum is just a short ride from the hot springs. You'll find a full history of the legend of the Namahage, and you can even try on a costume. Many of the hot spring resorts and local restaurants prepare local seafood in front of diners on a wood-fired stone grill. Known as ishiyaki cuisine, it is a delicious way to enjoy the catch of the day.
How to get there
Take the Shinkansen to Akita City, then a local train to Oga Station (1 hour). The hot springs are around 45 minutes by bus from the station.