Golden autumn on Oyasukyo Gorge
To admire autumn in Japan, people tend to visit tourist destinations in the southwest of Tokyo, such as Kyoto or Osaka. But an adventure to Akita, which is located in Tohoku in northern Tokyo will offer experiences that are beyond your expectations. This time, I will take you to Oyasukyo Gorge in the city of Yuzawa in Akita Prefecture for an unparalleled experience
Nestled amid magnificent mountains and ancient volcanoes, Oyasukyo Gorge is undoubtedly an ideal destination for those who are nature and hot springs enthusiasts.
This land is dubbed the "Wild Onsen Resort" of Akita Prefecture. It is also the birthplace of the most beautiful women in Japan.
Setting foot in this place, you will find yourself getting lost in a fairyland with steam rising in every corner. Don’t forget to spend at least one here in order to enjoy it to the fullest ^^
The best time to explore Oyasukyo is autumn when the forest is adorned with the color of red and yellow. It is also when the weather gets cold, allowing tourists to enjoy hot springs, an unmissable experience here, at the very best.
Descending a staircase of nearly 200 steps, you will be stunned by the landscape along the way. High cliffs covered in clouds and smoke. Steam rising from the ravine. The burble of streams bubbling over rocks. Red and yellow leaves interweaving on branches. If not seeing this with the naked eye, you'll probably find it hard to believe this scene is real.
The trail will lead you to the most astonishing spot here, Oyasukyo Daifuntou, which is home to a 98-degree hot spring shrouded in a white stream. The hot steam is quite strong so visitors should not stay here for too long.
Surrounded by volcanoes and combined with underground water flows, hot springs here have an abundant amount of mineral that is very good for our health.
There are two types of the hot springs here, including ordinary hot springs, which are clear and colorless, and mud bath. The color of mud comes from the sediment that volcanoes accumulates in the water, hence the name "mud bath".
The onsen here is also more special than other onsen places that I have experienced in Japan. After taking a bath, the skin remains greasy. Those are actually substances that help to nourish and soften the skin, support blood circulation, effectively relieve osteoarthritis pain, and do wonders for diabetics.
There are many hot spring baths in this area, such as Yama no shou, Komakusa, Abe Ryokan, etc. with costs starting from 500 yen per person. However, I would highly recommend Doroyu Onsen, in which you can enjoy an amazing mud bath experience with just 700 yen.
From Tokyo, there are several ways to get to Yuzawa:
- Flight: It takes about 1 hour to fly to Akita Airport and about 2 hours by train
- Shinkansen (bullet trains): It takes about 5 hours. The cost is around 13,000 yen per person
- Self-drive: It takes about 6 hours
If you live in Japan and have your own vehicle, or know how to drive and rent a car by yourself, this is the best way to travel. You will be able to admire gorgeous sights on two sides and not have to worry about how to take public transportations, rather, you have absolute freedom to venture forth into Japan.
From Yuzawa Station, you walk about 300m and you will reach Shimo-Shinchi Station. From here, take a train for about 1 hour to Kawahara-yu Station. Then, walk about 900m and you should reach the place by then. It sounds a bit complicated, but it's really easy to travel. Plus, the picturesque scenery along the way and here in Oyasukyo Gorge will not disappoint you.
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