Situated in the small town of Shirahone Onsen (literally White Bone Hot Spring), is “Awanoyu Onsen”, a hot spring facility that features mixed gender bathing in an incredibly beautiful setting, making it a popular destination for families and couples, who often pair it with a trip to the nearby popular Kamikochi nature resort.
Awanoyu Onsen’s elevated platforms that continuously shoot natural spring water into the bath are so iconic they’re often used as the image for the whole Shirahone area in guidebooks and on travel websites. The water has somewhat of a milky appearance to it, due to its high volume of calcium and magnesium, which are said to have healing qualities for gastrointestinal ailments. The temperature of the hot spring water is fairly lukewarm compared to most onsen in Japan, but it’s comfortable all year round, even in winter when the area gets large quantities of snowfall.
Awanoyu mixed gender hot spring
Awanoyu Onsen mixed gender bath
Being a mixed gender bathing facility, men and women approach the bath from different sides, from their respective changing rooms, they then meet in the communal bathing area. Women can choose to wrap themselves in white towels if they wish, which they can keep on while inside the mixed bath. Swimwear however, is strictly prohibited, as is the case with roughly 99% of onsen resorts in Japan.
There is also a female-only outdoor bath and both sexes have their own gendered separated indoor bathes as well, which are attached the changing facilities.
Indoor bathes are gender separated
Awanoyu is open for visitors between 10:30 am and 2 pm, six days a week (closed Thursdays). The rest of the time the baths are reserved for guests staying at the ryokan (traditional Japanese style inn). Their ryokan has a range of Japanese style rooms for guests to stay in, and traditional “Kaiseki Ryori” meals are also served.
For more information on the ryokan facilities please enquire through their website which is at the bottom of this page.
Inside one of the guest rooms
The entrance to Awanoyu is surrounded in lush greenery!
The entrance to hot-spring is located inside the lobby of the ryokan. There is also free parking on-site. For more information take a look at their website here, the language of which can be switched to English in the top right-hand corner of the page. https://www.awanoyu-ryokan.com/