Abundant hot springs and nature for hiking and winter sports.
Japan’s northern Tohoku region is the ideal getaway for those looking to relax in an onsen (hot spring bath) amidst breathtaking nature. Especially scenic in autumn and winter is Naruko Onsen Village in Osaki City, Miyagi Prefecture. Not too far from Sendai City, the area has an abundance of onsen and nature for hiking and winter sports.
Geographically, the area was formed from a volcano over 1,000 years ago, and the hot spring water is said to have healing properties. Before you soak in said healing waters though, take your time to discover the local nature gems.
Numerous hiking paths around Naruko Onsen will lead you through canyons and forests. The beauty of these trails helped inspire the famous poet Basho, who was struck by the scenery.
Japan's Scenic Northeastern Region
Another great hike is along the Hosomichi trail, an approximately 9 km road which goes up through the mountains into Yamagata Prefecture, and overlooks the flowing rivers below. Naruko is also an ideal place for winter sports with Onikobe Ski Resort being a hotspot for skiing and other snow activities.
Hot spring hopping
Naruko features almost 400 different mineral-rich water sources. For onsen enthusiasts, there are many different types of baths to try. Here are some of the most popular within the village:
- Naruko Onsen - Map
- Higashi Naruko Onsen - Map
- Kawatabi Onsen - Map
- Nakayamadaira Onsen - Map
- Onikobe Onsen - Map
At the gift shops, you can buy kokeshi dolls, wooden crafts that are a specialty of the region. The cute toys have been a tradition since the early 19th century, are still hand-made by craftsmen to this day, and make for a great souvenir.
Head up to Miyagi for incredible views during the day and reward yourself with relaxing hot spring baths at night.
Are you an onsen lover? Discover more hot spring getaways on our site.