Sakunami onsen is an absolutely must-visit destination while you are in the Miyagi region. Here is the Sakunami onsen review that may help you get more insight about the place, price, and how to enjoy onsen like a local.
What is in Sakunami?
Sakunami onsen has several ryokan (Japanese inns) along the area. It’s like a hotel with onsen, you can either choose to stay overnight at the hotel, or have a day trip to the onsen and enjoy the hot spring for a few hours during the day that the onsen is available for guests not staying at the hotel.
As an exchange student living in Sendai National Institute of Technology dormitory, it was easy for me to go to Sakunami onsen. I just had to take a train from Ayashi station to Sakunami station, with the JR train heading to Yamagata direction. It took 10 minutes for the train ride.
After arriving at the train station, you will have to wait for the free bus to come and pick you up to the inn you chose. Here is a picture of the time and fees for these inns:
The first inn is probably the most popular one: Yuzukushi Salon Ichinobo (here is their website: https://www.ichinobo.com/sakunami/). It is a bit more expensive (2000 yen for weekdays, 2500 yen for the weekend) because they serve tea/ coffee and sweets after your onsen session, included in the price. It was my aimed destination, but sadly when I reached Sakunami onsen, the lady at the station said Ichinobo was not open for guests on that Monday because of something related to their holiday policy 🙁
So I took the second option, which was Yosenkaku Iwamatsu Ryokan . They are open from 11 to to 14. The bus came around 10:15 and took me to Iwamatsu inn.
What is in Iwamatsu?
It’s a spacious hotel. My first impression was really good.
After paying the fee of 1570 yen, I was given 2 towels: a big one and a small one. I saw Japanese people used the small one to put on the top of their heads, maybe to wipe the sweat?
I put the shoes off and put on the slippers they gave me. There was a map and guidance from the receptionist about where to go. For women, there are 2 baths you can take: one indoor and one outdoor. There are also mixed baths, which means it’s for both men and women. I was not brave enough to take a mixed bath this time lol.
How to take onsen like a pro
Guide to take onsen:
I recommend taking the outdoor bath first. The scenery is breathtaking. It’s located right next to a strong stream of water in the middle of what seemingly looks like a forest. No pictures were allowed so I couldn’t take any pictures, but the view was awesome.
It was a relaxing experience. The hot water was a bit too hot for me at first, but after a while I got used to it and started enjoying it. If you took sauna before, you probably can relate to what I mean here. The hot spring is said to have several minerals that are good for your health, so after taking onsen bath you shouldn’t wash your body.
Everything a girl needs can be found there: hair dryer, hair rubber band, Shiseido lotion, face wash, cleansing oil, moisturizer, mini comb… I love the way the Japanese take care of little details. They always try to make everything as convenient for you as possible.
Afterwards, the bus took me back to Sakunami station (for free). It was a short ride because the inn is just 3 kilometers away from the train station.
Sakunami onsen or any other onsen is definitely a must-have experience when you are in Japan in general. I hope this Sakunami onsen review helps you a little when you decide to try onsen.