Nozawa Onsen Hot Springs

Discover the public baths of Nozawa Onsen

Welcome to the Nozawa Onsen Hot Springs guide.

Nozawa Onsen Hot Springs

A Japan Onsen Guide

Nozawa Onsen is about an hour’s drive from Nagano City or about 90 minutes by train/bus. It is located in the northern part of Nagano Prefecture – a rustic onsen (hot spring) village at the foot of Mount Kenashi and home to around 4,000 people. Nozawa Onsen is reputed to date back to 8th century but has been renowned for it’s Nozawa Onsen hot springs and traditional inns since the Edo period. In recent times Nozawa Onsen has also forged a reputation as a ski area with a great range of terrain and powder snow that’s hard to match. Check the Nozawa Onsen map here and here.

nozawa onsen hotsprings

Nozawa Onsen Hot Springs

Public onsen (Soto-yu)

Throughout the village there are about thirty different type of hot springs and fourteen public hot spring baths. Whilst these baths are usually free of charge, there is a box outside each one for visitors to provide a donation for upkeep. You will also need to take your own towel and soap. Take care as some of the waters can be VERY hot. Make sure to test before plunging in. The baths are open from 6am to 11pm every day during winter and from 5am during the green season. These are managed by the local Yunkama (hot spring association) which is a residents’ autonomous organisation dating from the Edo period.

If you don’t know the rules of visiting onsen in Japan then check here first.

The local Nozawa Onsen Soto-no-yu (hotspring) guide is as below.

Need accommodation? Check onsen hotel options here

Nozawa Onsen Hot Springs Map

Walking map: Nozawa Onsen Public Baths

Sorry, no English! You can compare names and locations with the map above. Map courtesy of Nozawa Onsen Kanko Kyokai.

Guide to the Nozawa Onsen Public Baths

nozawa onsen hot springs oyu

Oyu (#7 on map), located right in the centre of Nozawa Onsen village, is regarded one of it’s most recognisable landmarks. It is a beautiful bath house with an atmosphere reminiscent of the Edo period that was once a feudal retreat.

This bath house symbolises Nozawa Onsen and is the largest and grandest bathhouse building among the Soto-yu. A ‘must try’ onsen for visitors to Nozawa Onsen. There is a foot bath opposite if not wanting to take the plunge.

nozawa onsen hot springs matsuba-no-yu-onsen

Matsuba is just a short walk off the main shopping street of Oyu-dori (#6 on map) and only a few doors off the main street. The foundation of the building is made of stone but the bath building itself upstairs has been designed to look like a temple.

The inside is quite small but can comfortably hold a small group. Out the front there is a small cooking onsen that visitors can access to cook onsen tamago (onsen eggs).

nozawa onsen hot springs akiha-no-yu-onsen

The Akiha bathhouse (also called Akiba) is located a short distance away from the centre of the onsen district (#3 on map). The construction is solid and traditional with the floor of the bathtub tiled rather than wooden.

Here the water is slightly milky and is constantly replaced as it flows from the spring. The Akiha-no-yu public bath has an open atmosphere with large windows.

Nozawa public bath house juodo-no-yu-onsen

Jyuodo-no-yu Onsen (also known as Juodo-no-yu #4 on map) is housed in a more modern styled building of concrete construction. Here the baths are segregated by floor with the ground floor for women and the upper floor for men. The water is a milky bluish colour with a strong sulphur smell.

kami-tera-no-yu public onsen in Nozawa

Kamitera-no-yu (#9 on map) uses water issued from Asagama that is slightly bluish green and quite hot. The building was rebuilt in the mid 1990’s. Nozawa Onsen locals consider that the waters here are especially good for cuts, burns, and boils. You can reach this bath house by walking west downhill from Shin Yu

nozawa onsen public baths
Taking it easy in the public baths of Nozawa Onsen Hot Springs

More Nozawa Onsen Public Baths Info

nozawa onsen hotsprings Ogama

Ogama is the hottest of the springs in Nozawa with the water temperature reaching about 90 degrees Celsius. This type of hot spring is rare in Japan and thus has been designated as a natural monument of national importance. Ogama has become the “kitchen” of the village as it is used to boil eggs and vegetables.

Please note that cooking use is for villagers only. Nearby is a small bath house that is open to everyone.

Nozawa Onsen Ski Shuttle

Airport and resorts shuttles. Starting from only 5,900 yen. Book online!

nakao no yu onsen nozawa

Nakao-no-yu Onsen bath house (#2 on map) can fit larger groups then any others making it clearly the largest of all the soto-yu in Nozawa Onsen. The building of this communal bathhouse is constructed like many others in a temple style. The water is very hot – around 65 degrees.

public baths nozawa onsen shin-yu-onsen
Shinyu (#12 on map) was rebuilt and opened in December 2006. This small bath house is known for it’s milder “five colours water” which change colour depending on the season and climate. The waters here are recommended for rheumatic diseases, diabetes, acne, etc. The water temperature is around 55 degrees. Your skin is meant to resemble that of a peach after bathing here.

Nozawa Onsen Soto-yu - asagama-no-yu-onsen

Asagama-no-yu Onsen (#11 on map) will suit those who don’t enjoy the usual very hot temperatures of the Nozawa Onsen soto-no-yu. This bath house is a bit older & tired but still much loved by the locals. The thin white hot water has some yunohana particles.

Don’t forget to take a peek at the interesting communal laundry found just behind the building.

Nozawa Onsen Spa Arena

Nozawa Onsen Spa Arena is one of the main public bathhouses in the area which offers a unique and enjoyable experience for visitors. Located between the Nagasaka and Karasawa ski areas in Nozawa Onsen, this is a large multipurpose facility equipped with indoor public baths, an open air hot-spring bath, warm bathing pool, saunas and restaurant.

One of the main attractions of the Spa Arena is its mixed-gender outdoor bath. This is a unique feature as many onsen baths in Japan have separate facilities for men and women. Visitors can enjoy soaking in the natural hot spring waters while surrounded by the beautiful mountain scenery.

In addition to the outdoor bath, the Spa Arena also provides indoor bathing facilities with various hot spring baths. These baths typically offer different water temperatures and mineral compositions, allowing visitors to experience a variety of therapeutic effects.

Whilst the indoor baths are segregated with traditional style unclothed bathing, the outside pools are unisex and require swimwear.

Admission fee
・ Adult 700 yen (junior high school students and above)
・ Children 500 yen (3 years old to elementary school students)

Sparena Nozawa Onsen

Furusato no yu onsen in Nozawa Onsen hot springs

Furusato-no-yu opened in December 2011. Whilst it isn’t free like the other public bathhouses, it does offer basic amenities like soap and shampoo and also features a variety of baths. At Furusato no Yu both the mens and womens sides have a regular bath (very hot) but also one with a cooler temperature, as well as an outdoor bath.

Onsen Eggs

Want to try ‘onsen tamago‘ (hot spring boiled eggs)? You can buy them ready made at some of the local shops, or you can boil them yourselves at mini-onsen-hiroba ‘Yurari’ which is very close to Ogama (visitors to Nozawa Onsen are recommended to use this facility).

It can also be done at the facilities adjoined with the local bath houses:


Add a little salt or soy and you have a delicious unique Japanese snack!

egg onsen tamago

Nozawa onsen hot springs - kawahara-no-yu-onsen

Kawahara-no-yu bath house is quite near to Oyu (#8 on map) just down the hill. It is a relatively new but typical style bathhouse with a traditional atmosphere and bathing area made from a stone. The character of hot water has much the same feel as Oyu with the temperature reaching nearly sixty degrees and is said to be good for skin diseases.

taki-no-yu public nozawa onsen hot springs

Taki-no-yu (#13 on map) is the highest bath house of the Nozawa Onsen Hot Springs. The water, emanating from a calcium sodium-chloride sulfur spring, is very hot (around 78 degrees!) with a green color is green & small yunohana fragments. The waters here are considered particularly good for those recovering from serious illnesses.

shinden-no-yu-onsen Shinden-no-yu (#5 on map) is another bath house with a slightly more mild temperature. The water appears to be transparent as it emerges from the spring head but is actually somewhat milky once inside the bath. The bathrooms here are quite small with a maximum of about 5-6 guests.
kuma-no-teara-yu kumanote-ara Nozawa onsen Kumanote-ara (#10 on map) is an old bathhouse that is said to have been the first known Nozawa Onsen hot spring. The legend goes that it discovered by a bear (kuma) and later it was shown to a hunter by an injured bear. The temperature here is a reasonably mild 43 degrees.
yokochi-no-yu-onsen The colourless waters of the Yokoichi-no-yu bathhouse (#5 on map) are reputedly good for various skin diseases. It is unusually located in a basement underneath the Yokoichi traffic lights with a bath made of solid granite.

Ashi No Yu: Hot Spring Foot Bath

Foot Onsen Nozawa Onsen Hot Springs There are a few of these located around Nozawa Onsen with the most famous being opposite Oyu in the centre of the village.

Nozawa Onsen Hot Springs: Soto-no-yu video

The following is a video made (in Japanese) of a group doing a tour of the soto-no-yu hot springs in Nozawa Onsen. Some nudity!

Nozawa Onsen Hot Springs: ‘How to onsen’ video

And here’s a video showing you some of the local onsen and the etiquette to follow!

Thanks for visiting the Nozawa Onsen Hot Springs guide!

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