長野トップj100温泉 戸狩温泉暁の湯 Nagano Top 100 Onsens: Akatsuki no Yu

2013.01.19: 長野に来る理由 Reasons to Come to Nagano

Akatsuki no Yu in all of its cracked plastic bamboo and garish neon sign splendor


戸狩温泉 暁の湯 (飯山市)

戸狩温泉に日帰り施設は2つあります: 暁の湯と望の湯。









In researching Nagano's Top 100 Onsens (it's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it), and helping my buddy Peter finish his book on the subject, we had to fill in a few more details. Hence, a trip to Nagano's northernmost city and village, Iiyama and Sakae.

First stop: Akatsuki no Yu in Iiyama City's Togari Onsen.

In Togari Onsen, there are two day-use onsen bathhouses, Nozomi no Yu and Akatsuki no Yu.

Both Peter and I had been to Nozomi on separate occasions. I enjoyed it for its ambience, but unfortunately the outdoor bath was closed when I went. Peter also liked it enough to include in his Top 100 book. However, we got word that Nozomi was only open during the ski season, and to include Akatsuki (which is open year-round) instead.

Hence, our trip to snowy Iiyama to check out Akatsuki.

In the world of onsens, there are hits and there are misses.

Akatsuki, unfortunately, is a big miss.

The onsen water didn't have any particular smell, but it did have a yellowish tint and at least the outdoor bath had 'yu-bana' (flakes of onsen minerals), proof that this wasn't just ordinary tapwater. For me, though, lack of an onsen smell is disappointing. (Yes, I'me an onsen snob.)

But that's not the reason Akatsuki is a miss.

The water temperature was a bit too hot (42C?) for the indoor bath and, perhaps due to the snow, too cool (37C?) for the outdoor one. But everyone has their own personal preferences so I withhold judgement in that regards.

No, the reason Akatsuki is a fail is for the heaps of fake plastic bamboo used all over, and not only that, but it is noticeably cracked in places. And furthermore, there is a huge, garish neon sign towering over the bath. Akatsuki promotes itself as having a view of the peaceful countryside and mountains, but all of that is blocked by a fence, leaving the neon monstrosity as the most noticeable feature.

Use natural materials for your bath surround, change the fence so it allows views of the highly-touted picturesque countryside, and move that darn sign, and Akatsuki would make the Top 100. Meanwhile, stick with Nozomi. What about in the green season? 10 minutes down the road is Yutaki Onsen, which, for the same 500 yen price, offers a much better view (this one overlooking the Chikuma River) and has much more elegant facilities. See the next entry.

戸狩温泉Togari Onsen


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