Watching the Sunrise from an Open-Air Spa Deep in the Mountains


The other day I visited the city of Hachimantai in Iwate Prefecture to speak at a seminar on hospitality for visiting foreign tourists. After the seminar, I stayed at Toshichi Onsen, where I fulfilled my long-cherished desire to experience an off-the-beaten-track hot spring.
The hot-spring water was cloudy and had a heavy smell of sulfur. From the open-air bath on the east side of the building, it was possible to watch the sun coming up. On the western side, a cluster of wild open-air baths is clearly visible from the road leading to the top of Mount Hachimantai. The owner of the inn where I stayed also showed me the way to even wilder open-air baths, called Oku-Toshichi (“Deeper Toshichi”), near the source of the spring water.
Meals at the inn, centering on mountain products, are very tasty and sure to delight out-of-the-way hot-spring aficionados. Since this area has heavy snowfall, the inn will cease business for the year at the end of October. The autumn colors of the trees reach their best in the first half of October.

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Sunrise The rising sun and Mount Iwate Wild open-air baths
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Oku-Toshichi (“Deeper Toshichi”) The first hot-spring source



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