All About Japan

The Poster Spring for Japan Rail

| Ryokan , Tohoku Resorts

The train line between Kogota Station in Miyagi Prefecture and Shinjo Station in Yamagata Prefecture is called the “Steam Line” because of the many hot springs, or onsen, along the line.

Ryokan Onuma is just five minutes away from Naruko-Gotenyu Station, right about in the middle of the line. The outdoor bath behind this traditional Japanese inn is so picturesque it's even been used as a JR poster.


Mori-no-Yu is located in a forest behind the inn, and is reserved for guests staying the night. You'll be informed as to when the bath is available, and you can reserve it upon check-in. It's a bit of a distance from the inn, so the owner will drive you there by car!

The occasional frog croaking in the distance adds to the unique atmosphere. Only 30 minutes is allowed per group, so make the most of your time in this bath while listening to the wind songs!

Yakushi Sennin-buro

There are seven other baths at Ryokan Onuma aside from its famous outdoor bath. First is Yakushi Sennin-buro, a large bath that has tennyo, or female spiritual beings similar to angels or nymphs, painted on the walls. Normally this is a mixed bath, but between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. it's women only.

Next door, the Tennyo-buro bath is exclusively for women. The other five baths are private baths that you don’t have to reserve, but can bathe in if they're open. These include baths such as Ishiwari-no-Yu, a small outdoor bath that overlooks the courtyard garden, and Hi-no-Yu and Kage-no-Yu, which are on the fourth floor of the medicinal onsen building and have a view of the trains going by. Try them all to find the one you like best!


Fukashi-buro is an aromatic private bath. Between the warmth of the onsen heating the floors and the sound of the hot spring water flowing in straight from the source, you can almost forget the passage of time.

While you can enjoy a great number of baths at Ryokan Onyma, the facility has more holistic healing plans as well. You can get tickets to do some onsen hopping at other facilities close by, or you can even try your hand at some farming in the fields.

Long-Term Stay

You can also elect to stay long-term at the inn's Tojikan facility. This includes a kitchen for you to cook your own food, which was refurbished in 2013. The kitchen and dining space almost give the impression of a chic guesthouse. Meanwhile, the rooms are of a subdued and traditional design, creating a dynamic variation in atmosphere from one space to the other.

Delicious Cuisine

While you can cook for yourself, we recommend going for a plan with the meals included. The volume of food is impressive, and while the menu consists largely of simple-looking vegetable dishes, each dish is very thoughtfully prepared. Because it's so easy to overeat at dinner, there are even plans that have fewer dishes over multi-night stays, as well as a super-healthy ichiju-sansai (one soup, three dishes) plan. If you're staying in the Tojikan, you can even ask to get just miso soup and rice.

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