Ganiba Onsen is one of the 7 onsen that make up the Nyuto Onsen Village and was to be our accommodation for the evening. We were very glad to have been able to get accommodation at Ganiba Onsen at short notice, as many of the ryokan in the Nyuto Onsen village are booked out well in advance. The lodging was slightly older, but comfortable and we were well looked after. Most importantly of course, there were plenty more baths to explore!
Ganiba Onsen has 5 baths. 2 each for men and women in the main section of the building, and one outdoor unisex bath that is located about 50 metres from the ryokan. Within the main section of the building, the 2 baths offered contrasting experiences as one was made from wood and the other one was stone.
I loved the wood bath as it was an open air bath with beautiful views to enjoy. It was still snowing quite heavily, but you don’t tend to notice the cold when you are in a steaming hot bath! I even managed to make a tiny snow man with the snow covering the railing. Another new onsen experience!
A magical early morning onsen adventure!
The highlight of my stay at Ganiba Onsen was a 4:30am wander through the woods to the outdoor unisex nath. I had not intended to get up at this hour, but when I woke naturally, I was filled with a sense of adventure and off I went!
I tip toed down the corridor so as not to disturb other guests, and donned a pair of gum boots that were supplied for guests. I had a giggle to myself as normally it is practice to change into slippers when heading to an onsen, not some clunky big gum boots!
As I headed outside it was so serene and peaceful. Not a sound to be heard and the soft outdoor lighting gently illuminated the path to the bath. I wondered if I might see any wild animals, but luckily they were all asleep or hibernating!
A few minutes later, I crossed a little bridge and gasped with delight as I saw a beautiful outdoor bath, blanketed in snow. What a fairy tale….I felt so excited and blessed to be having this magical experience.
I enjoyed a beautiful soak, but must admit I was looking over my shoulder every now and then wondering if something wild was going to pop out of the woods as it felt so isolated.
On the way back from the bath, the illuminated path in the opposite direction was stunning. It was as if I was walking back through a cocoon. It is a memory that will stay with me forever.
Take the Akita Shinkansen Komachi to Tazawako (2 hours and 58 minutes). Transfer to the bus bound for Nyuto Onsen (about 45 minutes). By car it is about 1 hour from the Morioka Interchange or 2 hours from Akita City.