By taking a bus from Kinugawa Onsen for about an hour and 15 minutes and subsequently a shuttle bus that passes through a promenade and onsen hotels, you can reach Okukinu Onsen, an onsen (hot spring) village surrounded by a virgin forest. It is a generic name for four hot springs: Kaniyu, Teshiro Sawa Onsen, Nikko Sawa Onsen, and Hatcho no Yu, also known as "the last secret hot spring of the Kanto region". This article will introduce the characteristics of these four onsen, as well as details about access, etc.

Four Hot Springs of Okukinu Onsen

Kinugawa River flows down a virgin forest as waterfalls and streams from an altitude of 2,040 meters, with Kinunuma wetland being the source. Okukinu Onsen, boiling up close to the Kinugawa River’s source, is a general name for four hot springs: Kaniyu, Teshiro Sawa Onsen, Nikko Sawa Onsen, and Hatcho no Yu. Located in Nikko National Park, this hot spring is loved and visited by many fans of secret hot springs (or hitō). Cars are only accessible to Meotobuchi bus stop, while only the Kawamata taxi and the hotel shuttle bus can go beyond there. If you have the time and confidence in your physical ability, you may walk on the nature-rich promenade through the beech virgin forest to reach the hot spring.

1: Kaniyu Onsen

Kaniyu Onsen has five different spring sources of different quality. As it makes your skin smooth, it is known as Bijin no Yu (Spring of the Beauty). In addition to the first to third baths, there are unique baths such as “Kikiyu Roman no Yu” where you can enjoy the 5 different private spring sources. Day-trip baths (9:00 ~ 15:00, 800 yen) are also possible.

Spot Information

  • Spot name: Kaniyu
  • Street address: 871 Kawamata, Nikko-shi, Tochigi-ken, 321-2717
  • Access: About 4.5km, about 1 hour and 20 minutes from Meotobuchi bus stop via the promenade
  • Shuttle bus available for guests (about 25 minutes by Kaniyu shuttle bus from Meotobuchi bus stop)

2: Teshiro Sawa Onsen

A colorless and transparent natural simple sulfur spring. It also boasts an abundance of spring water. There are indoor baths and open-air baths for men and women. Most of the dinners are homemade and additive-free. Day-trip baths are not possible here.

Spot Information

  • Spot name: Teshiro Sawa Onsen
  • Street address: 870-2 Kawamata, Nikko-shi, Tochigi-ken, 321-2717
  • Access: About 2 hours and 30 minutes from Meotobuchi bus stop via the promenade

3: Hatcho no Yu

An onsen that is 100% natural. There are three mixed baths: the Notenburo baths (open-air bath but in the nature) “Yukimi no Yu” and “Takimi no Yu”, and “Takimi Rotenburo”, where you can bathe while watching the waterfall. Day-trip baths are possible here (9:00 ~ 15:00, 800 yen). A rest package for 3,500 yen that comes with a round-trip shuttle, lunch, and a towel is also available.

Spot Information

  • Spot name: Hatcho no Yu
  • Street address: 871 Kawamata, Nikko-shi, Tochigi-ken, 321-2717
  • Access: About 1 hours and 30 minutes from Meotobuchi bus stop via the promenade
  • Shuttle bus available for guests (about 30 minutes by shuttle bus from Meotobuchi bus stop)

4: Nikko Sawa Onsen

Founded in 1927 and located further inside beyond Hatcho no Yu and Kaniyu, there is a hut-like hotel that many mountain climbers visit. There are two open-air baths of different quality (both are mixed), and an indoor bath. One-day baths are available only to mountain climbers (9:00 ~ 15:00, 500 yen).

Spot Information

  • Spot name: Nikko Sawa Onsen
  • Street address: 874 Kawamata, Nikko-shi, Tochigi-ken, 321-2717
  • Access: About 2 hours from Meotobuchi bus stop via the promenade

Access to Okukinu Onsen

From Tobu Kinugawa Onsen Station, take a municipal bus for 1 hour and 15 minutes bound for Meotobuchi Onsen, and get off at “Meotobuchi Onsen” bus stop. If pickup is available from the bus stop to each hotel, take the shuttle bus of the hotel (not available for one-day onsen), and if shuttle bus is not available, you can walk there via the promenade. There are Hatcho no Yu and Kaniyu hot springs, and beyond those are Nikko Sawa Onsen, and Teshiro Sawa Onsen which is even further inside. From the bus window, you can see the artificial lake Kawamatako Lake and enjoy the beautiful scenery in any of the four seasons, such as fresh greenery in the early summer, and colored leaves in the autumn.

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