Monday, September 13, 2010

Kita Onsen - Nasu, Tochigi

Kita Onsen - map location must be one of the great hot springs in the Nasushiobara area. It has a beautiful location, good water, lots of history and style. You can stay at Kita onsen overnight or you can drop in for a day onsen. Its also one of the entry points to Nasu park.

I don't know the history of the Kita onsen building. But I know Kita onsen opened in 1696! The building is really old. Sometimes I think Japan defines rustic, dilapidated and the boundary between differently. But Kita isn't about faded carped and rusty metal, its definitely rustic and has heaps of style. If you go there for a day onsen the entrance area will be full of friendly walkers flopped around the firepit. Its a great place.

There are a number of pools in Kita onsen. First up there is a giant one out the front. Its not my favorite one due to the fact the arrival path goes right by it and a number of rather crappy additions (like the metal slide). Never the less I've sat there looking up at the mountains under moonlight with a group of friends and can say its very nice. The best pool is the roten up the back. Good views of the river and the strange concrete structures it flows over. The water here is good, flow is great.

You can stay at Kita overnight. I recommend it. The great old building made of heavy timber has a great atmosphere. The staff are very nice. Its the the lower cost, simpler end of the ryokan experience though. Dinner is simple and eaten in your room. Its good. Breakfast also simple and eaten in a dining hall. When we went we had it all to ourselves pretty much. Its some time since I went, but it cost 6 or 7,000 a head for 4 to a room for our party. If you're looking for shiny, elegant and expensive then Kita is probably not for you.

Local and Access:
Its a fairly short walk (5 or 10 minutes) from the carpark to the onsen. It can be a bit treacherous in winter. The location is fantastic at the bottom of the mountains, next to the river. If you are on foot, and you walk up the carpark and then keep walking up to the main road, across the road there is a track that will take you all the way up to Omaru.

More Photos


owenandbenjamin said...

That looks very nice. I have yet to experience an outdoor onsen. Someday I will.

BTW, yes, Otawara was miserably hot and humid when i was there in August. I bet you are looking forward to Fall.

davidfromoz said...

Its not for everybody, but I consider outdoor onsen to be the single best thing about Japan (best of many, I might say). Might I suggest Tanakaya as not so far from your place.

owenandbenjamin said...

Thank you for the suggestion. Next time I am in Tochigi I will suggest it to my wife or see if she knows of any places.

Jimbo said...

Kita onsen is definitely my favorite onsen in all of Tochigi. I have been there about four times and I still love going a few times every year. The tengu mask room makes you think you have traveled back in time!

Douglas Millar said...

David, Just a short note - I am a Canadian married to a Japanese. Just signed papers yesterday to have a house built in Nasu. Plan to quit work in Tokyo (engineer) and move to Nasu. Do you still live there? The whole area is a bit radioactive now but not too bad. I have a geiger counter - you can't go by what they measure in the town library. Outdoors it's about 0.6mSv/hr. The government evacuation threshold is 2uSv/hr. Anyway, I plan to move around Dec 2011. Hope all is well with you.

Douglas Millar

davidfromoz said...

Yes, we are still in Nasushiobara. Blog badly neglected :-( We'll be heading back to Australia just before you arrive (Oct).

I work for a company that makes, amongst other things x-ray equipment. Some of our engineers measure the ambient radioactivity. To summarize, its normally more than the govt says, but well within safe limits.

I envy you coming here and getting a house. Where are you going to build? We seriously considered country Tochigi living as an alternative to going back to Oz. This is a wonderful place. I'm sure you'll like it. If you should happen to be up here end September to check out your construction, shoot me a message. Likewise if you have any Nasushiobara questions.

Ben Keyser said...

I have really enjoyed your blog. I am moving to Nasushiobara in late September, and your blog is one of the only pieces of info about the area I have found on the internet. The area seems rural, and I'm very excited and nervous. Is there an izakaya in the area?

Cassandra Rolph said...

Hi Ben,
you will like Nasushiobara,it's very nice ,beautiful place, so many activity you can do here, as hiking, sports,gym,onsen,camping, car racing. As for food there are so many to choice from, we still haven't' tried them all yet, yes there is izakaya. you will have fun choice restaurant, the good food restaurant always don't look very fancy outside,but the food are great, ,it's not as you think that rural. population in Nasushiobara is 117,706 ( Japanese told me )

Hope you have good time in Nasu.


Cassandra Rolph said...

Hi Douglas,
Thanks for posting on David's blog. He has been very lazy lately, and also has been busy. We have discovered more interest place & events in Nasu,but he hasn't blogged for a year.
yes, we are still living here,but we are moving back to Australia end of September,2011.

Where do you build your house?

Japanese don't like old house,they prefer new house, so the old house are so cheap.


Unknown said...

hi,why you not update ,
I eagerly wait for the latest updates
This Sunday my husband going to Tochigi for 3 weeks working trip at the resarch honda co.
then I find information about Tochigi
Your blog helped me a lot
tq so much

davidfromoz said...

Gosh Miko, so sorry I haven't updated or even noticed your comment. Sadly. we left Japan at the end of 2011. Now we live in Tasmania. We love it here, but we miss Tochigi a lot.

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