Sukayu Onsen, Aomori Prefecture
One of the first Japan’s spas to be designated as a National Recreational Hot Springs, Sukayu Onsen in Aomori Prefecture is known for its Hiba-Senninburo ヒバ千人風呂, a cypress bath for thousand people. The rustic wooden architecture blends in with the nature of Mt. Hakkoda 八甲田山.
A hotel free shuttle bus operates between AUGA (near JR Aomori Station) and Sukayu Onsen. It takes about 1 hour (Reservation required).
Back in the Edo period (1603–1868), local people built a small bath hut where the current Hiba-Senninburo is located. The therapeutic, acidic spring became especially popular among mountain climbers, and word of its healing properties rapidly spread. After a large inn was built on the same spot, the inn prospered, and in 1954, Sukayu Onsen was designated, along with Nikkō Yumoto Onsen in日光湯元温泉 Tochigi and Shima Onsen 四万温泉in Gunma, as one of the first National Recreational Hot Springs.
The area around Sukayu Onsen, which is 925 meters above sea level, is said to be cool throughout the year. However, Sukayu Onsen does not have air conditioning facilities, it is very hot in mid-summer, just like in the city. After all, hot springs are best in the cool seasons.
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