I never thought I’d go to a mixed outdoor bath.
But when I went to Toshichi Onsen, I knew this was one of those rare opportunities I had to grab to soak in the free, wild bath amidst nature.
Located at an altitude of 1400 metres Toishichi Onsen is the highest onsen in Tohoku region.
It is nestled in a valley just beneath the summit of Hachimantai mountain. Being the only ryokan (hotel) available in the area, it is quite popular amongst the hikers who intend to hike towards Hachimantai Plateau.
Toshichi Onsen offers an awesome rotenburo (outdoor onsen) experience. It offers nothing but an exclusive, awe-inspiring onsen experience – one of my few top favourites of the many onsens I have visited.
The facility is really basic, simple with its authentic rusticity. The white milky water is rich in sulphur and is pretty good for modesty.
The changing rooms are pretty much simple too. Since the facility is made of wood, there were some gaps in the wall through which I felt, the outsiders could see you taking a shower… pretty disturbing for me. However, unlike the normal onsens where it is not advisable (and rude) to dip the tiny towels in the bath, you are allowed go in the onsen along with big towels with elastic just above your chest (for ladies) and along your hips (for gentlemen) for modesty.
There are baths of different sizes scattered around. Since the bath that had direct holes on the ground, I could feel the mud too – which is supposedly good for your skin. But make sure to avoid direct contact with the sulphur water and your eyes – for some reason, I had teary eyes for some 30 minutes after getting off from the bath. Also, don’t forget to remove your jewellery. One of our friend’s silver bracelet turned into a rustic black! The characteristic bubbling of the bath is pretty impressive, however, a bit dangerous as some spots can get extremely hot.
As you enjoy the sensation of warm water, cold breeze, sunny skies with blue clouds and sulphur aromas, you might as well have the ‘black eggs’ that are especially boiled using the same geothermal energy used for onsens.
Originally published in GoGoTohoku!!