Yamagata has hot springs in all cities and towns, Akita has many famous springs that are great for skin, as well as many hidden hot springs. Niigata has many hot springs with a variety of different good qualities. The best thing about the hot springs in this area is the fact that every one you go to provides a new natural and beautiful personality. Immerse yourself in the beautiful springs surrounded by nature, far away from the stress of daily life.
Tsuruoka, Yamagata Prefecture
Tsuruoka is dotted with hot springs both big and small. Among them, the most famous are the Yutagawa, Atsumi, and Yunohama hot springs, which have all been ranked on a national hot springs ranking since the Edo period.
Yunohama Hot Springs
This spring gets its origin from a Tengi era (1053-58) legend about a turtle who washes up on on shore and heals his wounds from the springs flowing from the earth. The large sand dunes and the setting sun over the Sea of Japan make for a picture perfect view. Nearby attractions include Yamagata Prefecture’s most prominent resort, a golf course, a warm water pool, and an aquarium with the world’s largest jellyfish exhibition, ensuring a good time for all ages.
Atsumi Hot Springs
These hot springs have been open for a thousand years. The soft, clear springs make for a comfortable, relaxing hot spring area. Many famous artists and writers, such as Riichi Yokomitsu and Yosano Akiko, came to love the hot springs and visited often. The banks of the Atsumi River provide an excellent area to take a nature walk in every season with cherry blossoms in the spring, fishing in the summer, and migrating salmon in the fall. The local morning market is also a famous spot and sells local specialties such as warm water turnips, shinaori fabric products, and fresh vegetables.
Yutagawa Hot Spring
Opened 1,300 years ago in the hot spring village, it’s sometimes called the heart of Tsuruoka. The hot spring is enclosed by bamboo thickets and plum groves, and lights up at night with the help of traditional paper lanterns. In spring, the plum trees blossom, and you can enjoy the area’s mosojiru soup. The public bath is luxuriously half open-air.
Yura Hot Spring Tsuruoka, Yamagata Prefecture
Selected as one of the top hundred shores in Japan, Yura is said to be where Prince Hachiko traveled when heading to Mt. Haguro after training at the Dewa Sanzan mountains. The contrast between Hakusanjima, an island that is connected to the beach with a 177 meter long red bridge and the setting sun in the evening makes for a breathtaking view.
Chokai Hot Springs, Yunota Hot Springs, Yuza, Yamagata Prefecture
The dark reddish-brown colored water from the waters of Nishinohama Gensen are great for your skin. Walk about one minute from Chokai Hot Springs Yurari and you’ll see “Apon Nishinohama”, a popular spot for families. “Apon” is a word from the Yuza dialect used for when a mother and her child bathe together. Sakataya Ryokan’s large public bath faces the Sea of Japan, and you can sometimes enjoy the crashing waves on the shore while bathing.
Yunodai Hot Spring - Sakata, Yamagata Prefecture
500 meters above sea level at the southern base of Mt. Chokai lies Yunodai Hot Spring’s “Chokai Sanso”, where you can view Chokai’s summit to the north, and Mt. Gassan and the Sea of Japan to the south. There are open air baths, family baths, and even short stay baths. It’s also a great place to stay if you’re climbing Mt. Chokai.
Nanohana Hot Springs Mikawa, Yamagata Prefecture
This old-time style hot spring is located in the middle of Shonai’s beautiful rural countryside. The facility separates their baths based on two different quality water types, the “clear common salt spring”, and “dark maroon salt spring”. In spring, you can see Mikawa’s Nanohana flowers blooming all over.
Tsukinosawa Onsen Shonai, Yamagata Prefecture
This hot spring quietly located at the foot of Mt. Gassan is one of only three acidic springs within Yamagata Prefecture. Whether it’s green spring leaves, orange fall leaves, or snow, here you can enjoy the beautiful natural scenery all year round while bathing. It’s also perfect as an accommodation while climbing Mt. Gassan.
Kusanagi Hot Spring Tozawa, Yamagata Prefecture
This inn is located at the last stop of the Mogami River boat rides. Here you can enjoy the relaxing hot springs while gazing at the Mogami River. In 1879, the spring was discovered when the ground was broken for the current highway Japan National Route 47. At the time of discovery, Ordinance Mishima Michitsune, who was leading the project, gave it the name Kusanagi.
Kisakata Hot Springs, Nikaho, Akita Prefecture
You can see Mt. Chokai to the east and the Sea of Japan to the west from this giant hot spring town. Bathe in the hot springs that run straight from the source at the Nikaho City Health Center Hamanasu, or watch the sunset as you bathe in the day trip facilities like the Michi no Eki Kisakata Nemu no Oka hot springs, then dine on delicious sea and mountain food.
Murakami, Niigata Prefecture
Senami Hot Springs
Senami got its start when boiling water started gushing out while drilling oil in the area in 1904. This hot spring boasts an abundant water source with a hot 95℃ temperature, giving it a secondary name that literally means boiling water. You can also enjoy the open air bath’s breathtaking view of the sun setting into the Sea of Japan while eating Murakami beef and other seasonal cuisine.
Echigo Sekikawa Onsen Town - Sekikawa, Niigata Prefecture
This hot spring town runs along the Arakawa river and includes five different locations: Takanosu Kan (known for its suspension bridge) Takase Hot Spring(known for cherry blossoms in spring) Kira Hot Spring(known for its “child bearing properties”), Yuzawa Hot Spring (known for its health resort-like appearance), and Katsura no Seki Hot Spring (known for short day trips). Because of the hot spring town’s location, you can enjoy fresh seasonal fish and vegetables in every season.
Awashima Hot Springs - Awashimaura
Isaribi Onsen Otohime Hot Spring’s slightly alkaline hypertonic water source comes from 1,500 meters underneath the Sea of Japan. You can enjoy views out the window of the Sea of Japan during the day, and the unique isaribi fishing lure lights on boats at night.