Sublime Soaks from Aso to Zaou
Independent onsen reviews, hot spring recommendations, Japanese onsen photos, guided onsen spa tours.
Wakoto Onsen -- Onsen Japan -- Japanese Onsen reviews, Japan onsen photos, guided hot spring tours, spa recommendations, and more



This peaceful rotenburo on the shores of Kussharo lake is, for some, the quintessential essence of what an onsen should be. As snow geese fly in to land on the glassy lake, the warmth (intense, depending on where you get in!) seems to permeate into your very soul. The bottom of this natural, rocky spring has coarse sand and a bit of slippery algae, so be careful getting in and out. With a bottle of sake and a friend or two to share it with, this magical spot is truly special. One can't watch a finer sunset than while soaking here and sipping the last drops of a bottle of good Hokkaido sake.

That said, Wakoto may not be for everyone. Its openness (a small parking lot is nearby, and passing fishermen often stop to chat with bathers) will mean the super modest will surely want to skip this one, and for those who think an onsen has to mean a high-end spa, the rough rock, lack of amenities, and algae will be off-putting. However, for anyone else, this simple rotenburo is well worth the drive. From Kawayu's train stop one could make it here by bicycle in a few hours, but it's best to either take a taxi or have your own set of wheels. It's possible to car camp in the parking lot, though that may vary if things are busy for the tourist season. If it's not already obvious, be sure to bring your own soap, towels, and bottle of (for once!) there aren't any vending machines.


Recommend an Onsen!

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