4. Nyuto Onsen — Akita
On the border between Akita and Aomori Prefectures lies the very famous Nyuto Onsen area. The whole facility consists of seven ryokan (traditional Japanese inns). When it gets cold, Nyuto Onsen becomes a very popular destination for people around the region to visit. Among the seven inns, the best-known is Tsuru-no-yu Onsen due to its traditional architecture and the amazing outside hot springs. From Tokyo, you can take the Akita Shinkansen to JR Tazawako Station, then a local bus for the onsen resort.
3. Manza Onsen — Gunma
Located relatively close to Tokyo (accessible even by normal trains) in northern Gunma Prefecture, Manza is a popular onsen destination for Tokyoites during cold winters. The water, which comes from Mount Shirane, has a high acidity level which supposedly has healing properties for problems such as high blood pressure. Manza also has very good outdoor onsen such as the ones in Prince Hotel. Besides the hot springs, there's a ski resort next to the onsen. Manza is definitely a good place to go during the winter season!
2. Okuhida Onsen — Gifu
Okuhida, with its luxurious outdoor onsen, is becoming a well-known destination for tourists lately. You can find a lot of outdoor onsen there; the most popular being Hirayu no Mori in the Hirayu area. And while you're in Okuhida, don't forget to try their onsen eggs. They're very good!
It takes about four hours from Tokyo by shinkansen to get there, so plan your trip accordingly.
1. Yufuin — Oita
Oita is hands down the "onsen prefecture" in Japan, boasting famous onsen towns like Beppu and Yufuin. When Beppu started getting too touristy and crowded, locals began to vist Yufuin, an hour by train away from Beppu. Something special about Yufuin is that the onsen ryokan are quite spread out, so you can enjoy the lovely small streets of Yufuin while doing onsen hopping. Some of the more popular outdoor onsen ryokan include Shoya no Yutaka and Baien.
Getting to Oita from Tokyo is fastest by plane, but there are options by train if you have more time than money. However, we absolutely believe it's worth the flight. So, grab your coat, and your towel, and get ready to enjoy a snowy onsen experience.