Hot Springs in Nozawa Onsen

Soto Yu – Free Public Spas

The “onsen” part of Nozawa Onsen does mean “hot spring” so it stands to reason that the village has an abundance of natural hot mineral water. But what differs from most other hot spring resorts in Japan is the “Soto-Yu”.

These are free public hot springs that anyone can visit at any time (although there is a donation box in many to help offset the maintenance costs). Nozawa Onsen is unique in Japan for the sheer number of Soto-Yu. Sprinkled throughout Nozawa Onsen Village are 13 hot springs.

There are 6 different bores that feed these hot springs, so the temperature and mineral content is different across the village. For instance, the bore that supplies Asagama-no-Yu comes out of the ground at 86.9°C, while the Kumanoteara-Yu is only 40.2°C at origin.

While most people may visit one or two springs during their stay, hard-core Japanese Onsen fans insist on doing the whole circuit. A couple of the springs are only open certain hours, so check in advance.

Most of the Soto-Yu are only a few minutes walk apart.

 

Soto-Yu Location Map

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