Jun 17, 2009

Shinyu, Nozawa Onsen, Nagano Pref.

Nozawa Onsen(野沢温泉) in northern Nagano Pref. is attracting skiers and snowboarders from abroad in recent years. If you come to Nozawa Onsen, don't forget to visit some public baths. There are 13 public baths, and all of them accept anybody for free.

My most favorite is Shinyu(真湯). It's newest among 13 public baths, as it was rebuilt and opened December 2006. It's also one of the smallest. It's a tiny wooden hut, the entrance is very narrow. There is a changing space, not a room. I mean there is no wall between bathroom and changing space.

Small bath is filled with sulfur hot springs. The water was pale green with many black mineral encrustations in it when I visited in June 2008. Looked like crow's feathers in the bath. The contrast of black and pale green was so beautiful. But I heard it's mostly transparent without any color and mineral encrustations are sometimes white.

If the water is too hot for you, you can add water, don't put too much water. Local people love to soak themselves in very hot bath.

◆Shinyu, Nozawa Onsen (野沢温泉 真湯

Type: Gender separated public indoor bath.

Address: Nozawa Onsen-mura, Shimo-takai-gun, Nagano Pref.

Available hour: 5:00 AM to 11:00 PM (From 6:00 AM from November to March)

Holiday: None

Admission fee: Free

Equipment: Changing space with shelves, small rockers for valuables. You have to bring your own towel.

Access: Bus between Nagano Station and Nozawa Onsen serves three times a day in the summer, six times in the winter. As of Dec. 2009, departing east exsit of the Nagano Station at 9:10AM, 10:30AM, 11:15AM, 1:35PM, 3:00PM, 4:10PM everyday taking about an hour and 15 minutes.

Link: Accommodation List of Nozawa Onsen in English

My rating (out of five): 5

If you visit Nozawa Onsen, don't forget to drop in a restaurant named Atarashiya(新屋)near the bas stop and try Yakitori-don (Yakitori on a bowl of rice). It's soooo yammy!

Jun 4, 2009

General Info: Part 1 - Onsen Glossary

I'm going to update this glossary constantly. If there are any onsen-related words you need explanation, please leave a comment. I'll follow up.

  • ashiyu(足湯): Foot bath. Usually free of charge except famous tourist spots like Arashiyama (Kyoto) and Yufuin (Oita). See the picture of this post.
  • datsuijo(脱衣所): Changing room.
  • ganban-yoku(岩盤浴): Stone sauna.
  • furo(風呂): Bath. Often means bath room as well. Ofuro is more polite expression.
  • hinoki-buro(檜風呂): Bath tub made of Japanese cypress woods.
  • iwa-buro(岩風呂):Bath tub made of rocks.
  • kashikiri-buro(貸切風呂): Private bath. You can share a bath with your family or friends. Same as kazoku-buro.
  • kazoku-buro(家族風呂): Private bath same as kashikiri-buro. Literally means family bath.
  • konyoku(混浴): Gender mixed bathing. Pronounce as kon-yoku.
  • kousen(鉱泉): Cold mineral springs.
  • kyodo-yokujo(共同浴場): Public bath. Admission fee is usually cheaper than sento.
  • mizu-buro(水風呂):Cold water bath.
  • neyu(寝湯): Lying Bath. Shallow bath with about 20 cm deep. Lying down for soaking.
  • ofuro(お風呂): Bath and bathroom. More polite than "furo".
  • onna-yu(女湯): Ladies' bath.
  • onsen(温泉): Hot springs. Also means hot spring bath, hot spring bath house, and whole hot spring gushing area depending on situation. Keep in mind an "ONSEN" named bath house sometimes supply heated tap or well water instead of hot springs (It's legal). See also Wikipedia.
  • onsen tamago(温泉卵):Eggs boiled with onsen. Softer than usual boiled egg.
  • otoko-yu(男湯): Men's bath.
  • rei-kousen(冷鉱泉): Cold mineral spring. Same as kousen.
  • rotenburo(露天風呂): Open-air bath.
  • ryokan(旅館): Japanese style inn. Generally serves dinner and breakfast for overnight staying guests. Many onsen ryokans accept day visit soaking.
  • senmenki(洗面器): Washing bowl.
  • sento(銭湯): Communal bath house for those who doesn't have a bath room at home. Some of them supply hot springs. Most of them are family run. All sentos are under authority of local governments and each prefecture set the addmission fee. Gender mixed bathing never allowed. See also Wikipedia.
  • super sento(スーパー銭湯): Value added sento with ganban-yoku, restaurant, barber, massage parlor, nail salon, and etc.
  • uchiyu(内湯): Usually means indoor bath, sometimes means bathroom inside ryokan.
  • utaseyu(打たせ湯):Pelting water. A steady stream of hot water cascading one's shoulders or back. Massaging effect expected.
  • yukata(浴衣): Cotton kimono. Almost all ryokans provide yukata for staying guest as bathrobe and pajama (Don't take away). See also Wikipedia.