Nozawa Onsen is as much a hot spring destination as a world-class ski resort. The free hot springs, foot baths, public onsen and other great hot springs in the area make the traditional mountain village a great holiday destination throughout the year and the perfect way to rejuvenate after a day on the slopes or cycling and trail running around Nozawa Onsen.
13 free neighborhood hot springs in Nozawa Onsen
The thirteen free hot springs in the village attract visitors from all over Japan. Spend a few days in Nozawa Onsen and see which one is your favorite. The baths do differ in mineral content and some are larger or cozier than others. Each gumi (neighborhood) is responsible for looking after their onsen and the 13 hot springs represent the 13 neighborhoods in Nozawa Onsen. Yoji Nozawa’s neighborhood onsen is Shinyu. It can be a bit tricky to find the first time as it is up towards Tsutsuji-yama Park and Konpira Shrine (the shrine in Shinyu that the villagers in our neighborhood take care of). However, the out of the way location means it is often less crowded than other free hot springs in the village.
Soto-no-yu are open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and all traditional baths (no clothes permitted) with a men’s and women’s side and you are required to wash yourself before entering the bath. Note that the free baths are basic so you will need to bring soap, shampoo and a towel (no soap or shampoo in the baths!). The locals like them hot, so be sure to ease your way in slowly. If you want to be sure of the etiquette see the signs at the onsen or visit the Nozawa Onsen Tourism Association website at nozawakanko.jp.
Traditional rotenburo steps away from Yoji Nozawa
Yoji Nozawa is fortunate to be located right below the best traditional public hot spring in the village – Furusato-no-yu. It is open from 10am to 8pm (enter until 7:30pm, closed Thursdays) and costs 500 yen for adults and 300 yen for kids. There are men’s and women’s separated changing rooms, showers and baths and body soap and shampoo are provided—just bring a towel and a change of clothes.
In winter, like all hot springs in the village, it can get busy just after people finish skiing so try and avoid peak times if you can. Best thing about Furusato-no-yu is the rotenburo (outdoor, open-bath) and the two baths inside at different temperatures.
Village-run Spa Facility in Nozawa Onsen
Sparena Nozawa Onsen
Sparena is a spa facility up near the Karasawa Slope at the top of the village. This village run hot spring is a good place for onsen novices as the water is not as hot as the traditional baths and there is an area outdoors with a warm pool and hot bath where you can wear swimming suits (men and women share this space) if you are not comfortable going au naturale. While Sparena is not very centrally located it does make a good after ski spot for an evening with kids as you can also have dinner at the cafeteria. In summer it’s a great spot for families with an outdoor pool, waterfall and outdoor terrace that is a great place to have some after swimming dinner and drinks and enjoy the sun setting across the valley.
Traditional outdoor foot baths
While strolling around Nozawa Onsen in the green season be sure to take your time and make a stop at one of the village ashi-no-yu (foot hot springs). Our favorite is located just up the hill from Yoji Nozawa and Asagama Onsen past Ogama (the villagers cooking onsen). Walk through the small market and the foot onsen is there with a great view of the mountains across the valley. You can get a drink or a snack at the market and soak away any aches and pains from the day. The foot baths here do close during winter, but the public footbath across from Oyu in the center of the village operates during the snow season.
Visit the Nozawa Onsen Tourism Association website for more details at nozawakanko.jp
Snow Monkey Tours
Jigokudani - Snow Monkey Hot Springs
A visit to the snow monkeys on most people’s itineraries when they visit Nozawa Onsen. The majority of visitors go in winter when the monkeys are lounging in their natural hot springs the most. However spring and autumn are also great times to visit Jigokudani Monkey Park. The walk in is beautiful, less crowded, and while there aren’t as many monkeys in the baths you will get more quality time with the Japanese macaques. Tours do run throughout the winter but if you have your own car we suggest driving over (40-50 minutes) and enjoying a stroll in Yudanaka Onsen or a visit to our friends at The Farmhouse and Shiga Kogen Beer (Tamamura Honten).
Explore the Local Onsen
Other Hot Springs
If you have your own transportation be sure to spend a day exploring the villages and hot springs outside of the village. Maguse Onsen has a magnificent view down the valley from their large outdoor, open-air baths (rotenburo), and Yutaki Onsen by the river also has a large outdoor bath. Both also have restaurants so you can go for lunch or dinner after a soak.
SAVE THE DATES!
BOOK YOUR NEXT STAY AT YOJI NOZAWA
Book your next Nozawa Onsen holidays at Yoji Nozawa for 2021 or 2022 to make sure you lock in your dates. Nozawa Onsen Ski Holidays, Summer Holidays, Remote Working Stays.