In the far north of Nikko National Park, this volcanic region is rich in hot springs and pristine nature. At its center is the active volcano Mt. Nasudake, which presents a welcome challenge for intermediate hikers, although casual climbers can take the ropeway up to a station just 45 minutes from the summits. Some other easy trails snake around the surrounding area too, delivering walkers to remote waterfalls, and suspension bridge viewpoints built on the slopes.
After working up some leg aches on the beautiful forested trails, the onsen hot spring baths are a welcome relief. Nasu Onsen is the older of the two, located halfway up the mountain itself, while Shiobara Onsen is a short trip to the southwest. The latter is a well-established haven for those looking to escape into nature in style (read: without all the bugs and discomfort).
The town has several nice hotels, both modern and classic, and a good range of baths to enjoy. Fudo no Yu and Iwa no Yu are two secluded, mixed-gender hot springs which have a decidedly rustic feel, with no ticket booth or changing rooms. This is onsen bathing in its most old-school form. Of course, those seeking a little more privacy can head to the ryokan inns to sample their baths instead, or the foot spa in the town center which has lovely pond views.
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