Japan's Best Onsen?
Sukayu is a mountainous hot spring accessible for over 300 years. The hot spring was the first to be appointed as the People's Recreation Hot Spring in 1954. The facility is a timber building, the oldest in the Hakkoda area. It is a sister ryokan of the Hakkoda Hotel.
Set at the foot of Mount Otake in Towada Hachimantai National Park, this laid-back hot spring inn is an 8-minute Jigokunuma nature preserve and 4 km from the Hakkōda Ropeway aerial lift. Located in Mt. Hakkoda, a part of Towada-Hachimantai National Park, the hotel is convenient for sightseeing Lake Towada, Tsugaru Shimokita Peninsula, Hakkoda Mountains, Suiren Numa Pond, Jogakura Gorge, and Oirase Gorge.
Sukayu features three baths, a co-ed, a female-only, and a male-only bath. The baths are all-natural, with water flowing directly from the source. The most famous "Senjin Buro," the bath of a thousand bathers, is a massive co-ed bath size 248㎡ (2669 sq. feet).
At 265 square meters, the traditional Japanese ambiance of the impressively large cooed bathing area is particularly famous. The hotel takes pride in its "hiba sennin-buro (large communal bath)," entirely made with hiba arborvitae wood, one of the local specialties of Aomori Prefecture. The hot spring was designated the national number one hot spring in 1949.
The Beech Bath "Sennin Buro," or bath of a thousand bathers, is made with beech wood and charms bath lovers of all ages. Though it is usually mixed bathing, there is an allotted time for female bathers only during the day. The bath area fills with white steam on cold winter days, creating the nostalgic feel of an old hot spring. The popular bath has been shown on television and in magazines numerous times.
Sukayu is filled with skiers and snowboarders in the winter, while the hot spring welcomes trekkers and hikers in the spring, summer, and fall. This ryokan preserves the traditional mountainside Japanese homestead ambiance. The guest rooms in the ryokan facility are styled in traditional Japanese with a veranda and tokonoma (an alcove where art or flowers are displayed). In the inn restaurant "Onimenan," guests can enjoy the local cuisine sukayu soba and ginger miso bamboo oden (Japanese-style stewed vegetables and dumplings).