Surrounded by Nature! 9 Resorts With Open-Air Hot Springs in Niigata

Niigata Prefecture, located on the Sea of Japan in mainland Honshu, is renowned for its delicious rice, heavy snowfall, ski resorts, and hot springs. It’s the ultimate getaway for both action-packed outdoor adventures and rejuvenating rests. In this article, we’ll introduce 9 hand-picked Niigata hotels with open-air hot springs to enjoy together with your adventure!

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Niigata: A Land of Natural and Cultural Wonders

Niigata is a year-round destination boasting gourmet food, hot springs, breathtaking nature, and exciting activities. Its unique location on the Sea of Japan coast makes it a mecca for fresh seafood as well as Japanese rice, both widely celebrated for their exceptional taste. Niigata sake, brewed from this rice, is popular both in Japan and across the globe, and visitors can tour the numerous sake breweries dotting the prefecture. Niigata is also famous for its intense winters, offering winter sports enthusiasts a wealth of places to ski, snowboard, and more. Plus, with some of Japan's best hot springs also in the prefecture, visitors can relish a warm soak while admiring the stunning scenery afterwards.

9 Hotels With Open-Air Hot Springs in Niigata Prefecture

1. Four Seasons Yuzawa Quattro

Four Seasons Yuzawa Quattro presents luxurious guestrooms with private open-air baths and balconies. It is located just a 5-minute walk from JR Echigo-Yuzawa Station, which is connected to the bullet train, and a 10-minute drive from Yuzawa Kogen Ski Resort, NASPA Ski Garden, and Yuzawa Central Park, making it an ideal base for outdoor activities.

The maisonette guestrooms have a bedroom, dining room, open-air hot spring, and glass-enclosed indoor bath on the 1st floor, while the 2nd contains a living room equipped with a large-screen TV, BOSE audio system, and in-room Wi-Fi, along with an outdoor deck.

Each guestroom’s open-air bath boasts free-flowing spring water direct from the area’s slightly alkaline simple springs, known for their healing properties. In winter, visitors can enjoy a nourishing soak in the snow while admiring the stunning outdoor scenery, while summertime is dressed by refreshing breezes.

For dinner, guests can indulge in a blend of Japanese and Western dishes cooked with local ingredients. The main “kaiseki” cuisine features seasonal delicacies like regional wagyu beef, seafood from the Sea of Japan, and wild vegetables. The local “koshihikari” rice is also a must-try, famed for its exceptional flavor and texture.

2. Snow Peak Field Suite Spa Headquarters

Snow Peak Field Suite Spa Headquarters is a brand-new hotel run by reputable outdoor brand Snow Peak. Flaunting a modern and minimalist design, it is the brainchild of renowned architect Kengo Kuma, painstakingly assembled to blend into Niigata's natural surroundings while presenting stunning mountain views from every corner.

Seppou, the hotel restaurant, prides itself on an unparalleled dining experience bolstered by panoramas of the natural environment. The menu is centered around innovative dishes made with traditional Japanese ingredients, using fresh produce from local farmers to create a next-level gastronomic experience.

The spacious guestrooms are fitted with wide windows for an airy and open atmosphere. Some are equipped with private open-air baths and kitchens (with ovens), suitable for extended stays.

The hotel's architecture reflects the harmony between indoor and outdoor spaces. It utilizes natural materials like clay walls and wood from the local area, allowing guests to immerse themselves in nature without sacrificing comfort.

3. Shosenkaku Kagetsu

Shosenkaku Kagetsu is a Japanese-style inn located just a 5-minute walk from JR Echigo-Yuzawa Station, making it easy to access for travelers. Its close proximity to Yuzawa Kogen Ski Resort and the Yuzawa Kogen Ropeway, both within a 5 to 10-minute walk, makes it ideal for winter sports enthusiasts. Free parking is also available for those traveling by car.

The guestrooms are designed in modern Japanese style, with wooden floors and tatami mats weaving together a cozy atmosphere. Some rooms have open-air baths made of “hinoki” cypress, which produce nourishing natural fragrances, adding to the relaxing experience.

The hotel's top-notch cuisine consists of hearty Japanese dishes made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, mostly sourced from the local area. There is also a casual bar to treat yourself to an after-dinner drink.

Guests can also enjoy a soak at “Iroha-no-Yu,” a natural hot spring garden that boasts a large rock bath, an open-air bath, and an indoor bath. Private bathhouses can also be reserved in advance, allowing you to completely unwind in both outdoor and indoor bathtubs alone, or with family and friends.

4. Rankeisou

Hidden away in a lush mountain village in Sanjo, Rankeisou is a traditional “ryokan” inn housed in a building recognized as a Cultural Property of Japan. Its resplendent design facilitates total relaxation through garden rooms, a shared lounge, and more. The area is popular for hiking, and bicycles are available for rent, too.

All of the rooms abound with traditional Japanese flair, giving one a sense of the inn’s history and culture. They feature a large window overlooking the valley, and most have tatami flooring and futon bedding. Other rooms boast extra-long Simmons beds, for an even more comfortable sleep.

At mealtimes, guests can savor nutritious dishes made from produce painstakingly sourced from the local mountains. The chefs dedicate a great deal of time and effort into carefully preparing each dish, culminating in an unforgettable encounter with regional cuisine.

In addition to the bathhouse with large indoor and outdoor baths, there is a private open-air bath that guests can reserve for their exclusive use. Guests can take turns relaxing alone while enjoying the soothing sound of the nearby river.

5. Kogakuro

Just a 20-minute drive from JR Myoko-Kogen Station, Kogakuro allows guests to fully indulge in Akakura Onsen's abundant natural hot spring waters, all while encompassed by lush natural scenery.

The hotel's cozy lounge, which combines retro and modern elements, features a fireplace offering a warm welcome to guests. In winter, you can unwind and watch the flickering flames while listening to soothing music and reading books from the adjacent library.

Kogakuro's baths include a large bathhouse and an open-air bath, both filled with 100% natural hot spring water from Akakura Onsen, which contains both sulfate and bicarbonate components, and is full of undissolved minerals floating in the water. The hot spring water is said to be effective in treating rheumatism, nerve pain, and poor blood circulation, while also keeping your skin moist and body warm for an extended period.

The tatami-matted guestrooms showcase invigorating vistas of lush woods in summer and snow in winter. In the lobby, there is a souvenir section selling unique Niigata folk crafts and traditional sweets.

6. Sake Hotel Tamakiya

Sake Hotel Tamakiya is a unique ryokan that takes pride in its medicinal hot springs and French cuisine made from local Niigata ingredients. Guests can further indulge in specially curated Niigata sake and wine selections from the fourth-generation owner, who is a renowned sake master and wine sommelier.

The guestrooms are tastefully furnished with comfortable beds, cozy sofas, and chairs that invite relaxation. This is bolstered by picturesque views of the bucolic countryside and the charming streets of the hot spring town from the windows.

Take a dip in the hot springs, which are sourced directly from Matsunoyama Onsen - one of Japan's three famous medicinal hot springs. It originates from seawater trapped underground about 12 million years ago, and is known to relieve coldness and fatigue, while the high metasilicic acid content works to keep the skin moisturized.

Guests can relish the wonders of this hot spring in the barrier-free Japanese-Western style fusion room with a private hot spring indoor bath, or in one of the rooms with open-air baths.

7. Akakura Kanko Hotel

The Akakura Kanko Hotel is renowned as a pioneer of resort-style hotels in Japan. It is located just a minute's walk from the Myoko Kogen Sky Cable, which displays a jaw-dropping lookout over the surrounding wilderness. At an altitude of 1,000 meters, the hotel also boasts its own incredible panoramic view, with a sea of clouds sometimes visible below and fantastic sunrises and sunsets.

The guestrooms are decorated in calming colors and equipped with luxurious Simmons beds for comfortable sleep. Each features a snug living area with a couch and rocking chair. For those seeking an extra touch of luxury, rooms with a lavish bathroom and open-air bath are also available - the perfect place to take in the stunning highland scenery.

Akakura Onsen is a gently flowing, natural hot spring believed to be effective at healing cuts and beautifying skin, all while keeping you warm for a while after bathing. Guests can indulge in these heavenly waters at the SPA&SUITE hot spring facility, which also has professional therapists on standby with a range of spa treatments. The top-floor Aqua Terrace is also the perfect place to check out the spectacular terrain above the clouds.

For dinner, guests can choose between seasonal Japanese cuisine at Shirakaba, scrumptious sushi at Tomi-zushi Kura, or some familiar Western favorites at Sorubier, the main dining hall. Each restaurant exhibits gorgeous views that change with the seasons, allowing a fuller appreciation of the magnificent Myoko region. There is also a café terrace, bakery, and bar for some lighter meals and drinks.

8. Minakami Kogen Hotel 200

Minakami Kogen Hotel 200 sits on a plateau 1,000 meters above sea level, nestled amongst stunning natural splendor. It’s popular with those trekking Mt. Tanigawa or Oze National Park, which are known for their rich nature and wealth of outdoor activities. Guestrooms provide an unparalleled look at the magnificent mountain ranges, framing each in glorious detail. There are also hot springs with water renowned for its luscious texture and skin-beautifying properties, as well as meals packed with seasonal ingredients.

Riraku, a separate facility just a few minutes on foot from the hotel, also features an open-air bath tucked away amongst ever-changing nature and clear air. The two bathtubs, one overlooking the majestic mountains and the other surrounded by white birch trees, swap daily between men and women.

Shirakaba Dining on the 1st floor serves buffet dinners boasting around 60 different Japanese, Western, and Chinese dishes. On the top floor, Restaurant Fujiwara specializes in creative Italian cuisine and shabu-shabu Japanese dishes.

The hotel's assortment of guestrooms all provide a sense of liberation, and an opportunity to appreciate the surrounding nature through large windows. From simple rooms to those with intricate attention to detail, you can choose the best option for your family, friends, or partner.

9. Satoyamajujo

Satoyamajujo boasts one of the finest open-air baths in Japan, augmented by breathtaking views of the 2,000-meter-tall mountains on the Joshinetsu border. Reception sits in a 150-year-old Japanese folk home, adorned with local antiques, artisan tableware, designer furniture, and intiguing artwork, and serving world-class organic and detox meals.

Each guestroom is the unique creation of different designers, ranging from the “Creator's Twin,” intended for long-term stays by artists, to the classic, comfy “Tatami Twin,” along with group/family-friendly rooms. In winter, the surroundings are utterly engulfed in snow, submerging you in a silvery wonderland best taken in from the balcony windows.

Alongside spectacular mountain scenery, the Amanogawa Hot Spring is an excellent spot for stargazing, with the Milky Way visible overhead in crystal clear detail. The spring’s hot water is sourced from Osawayama Onsen, renowned for its skin-beautifying effects and smooth lotion-like texture.

At the in-house restaurant, SANABURI, you can relish Japanese cuisine made with local organic vegetables, with vegetarian meals available upon prior request.

Take in the Spectacular Nature of Niigata From an Open-Air Hot Spring

From snow to fresh greenery and fall foliage, Niigata is one of the best regions to appreciate the seasons of Japan. With activities like winter sports, trekking, golf, and more, plus wonderful meals and warm hospitality, Niigata has the best of both thrilling outdoor adventures and relaxing indoor vacations.

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Chubu Feature

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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