Bathing in onsens is one of the Japanese ways to heal and de-stress. If your idea of vacation is a relaxing one, spend a day or more indulging in hot spring baths and retreating into nature. Sendai, the capital city of Miyagi Prefecture, has several onsen ryokans to boot. Check out the best ones from this list:
Sendai may be one of Japan’s largest cities, but despite its urban appeal, it does have its share of secluded gems. Just 30 minutes by car from the city center, the onsen district of Akiu is a popular destination for relaxation since approximately 1500 years ago. Rich in nature, history, and therapeutic hot springs, this town has been sought out by many, from common folk to royalty.
When it comes to heritage, no other ryokan in Akiu onsen can surpass Sakan. This thousand year old inn is run by the 34th generation of the Satoh family, and for an establishment that is able to last for so long, there’s no doubt that they are great at what they are doing. In the olden days, this onsen ryokan was the choice relaxation spot of the Date feudal clan of Sendai. Today, it continues to provide luxurious accommodations to its guests by combining traditional and modern elements in their rooms, bathing areas, and services.
Address: Yumoto Akiu-machi Taihaku-ku Sendai, Miyagi, 982-0241
Hotel New Mitoya
Hotel New Mitoya delights its guests with comfortable accommodations, appetizing meals, and numerous options for hot spring bathing. It is known for its three large bathing areas and 16 medium sized ones. Additionally, they have 3 guest rooms fitted with semi open-air baths – a very popular option, so better inquire and book early.
Address: 102 Aza-Yakushi, Akiu-machi Yumoto, Taihaku-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi
Ryokusuitei is an onsen ryokan that best utilizes both the healing properties of nature as well as its scenic beauty. The only hilltop ryokan in Akiu onsen, this luxurious inn has a great vantage point of the area’s surrounding nature. Its rooms and common spaces are fitted with large windows, while its outdoor bath is open until late at night for guests to enjoy. If your goal is to truly immerse in nature, this is just the perfect place to do so.
Address: Uehara-27 Akiumachi Yumoto Taihaku-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi-ken
Price: From ¥16,740 / person / night
Satoya Ryokan is a mid-sized inn where you can enjoy a comfortable stay without losing the homey feeling. Stay-in guests get served with delicious home cooked seasonal meals delivered to their rooms, whereas baths can be enjoyed indoors or in an open-air bath depending on preference.
Address: Yakushi-108 Akiumachi Yumoto Taihaku-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi-ken
Price: From ¥10,950 / person / night
Website: http://www.satoya.co.jp/ (Japanese only)
Hotel Iwanumaya is another onsen ryokan in Akiu with a long history. Founded in 1625, it is highly regarded for its impeccable service and hospitality, and of course, its very pleasant atmosphere. Though still steeped in tradition, it has evolved with the times in the form of modern additions to its facilities. On top of guest rooms designed for ultimate comfort and hot spring baths to relax in, the establishment also boasts of lounge areas, karaoke rooms, a bar, a spa salon, meeting rooms, and even an exhibition space that displays articles connected with Hotel Iwanumaya’s heritage.
Address: Yakushi-107 Akiumachi Yumoto Taihaku-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi-ken
Price: From ¥13,000 / person / night
Located along the Hirosegawa River and within the vicinity of the national highway that connects Sendai to Yamagata, Sakunami Onsen district is a very popular onsen getaway for its accessibility, gorgeous surroundings, and variety of accommodations that cater to both stay-in guests and day trippers.
Surround yourself with the sights and sounds of Hirosegawa River as you soak in Ichinobo’s outdoor baths. This onsen resort has a total of four baths, three of which are open-air ones situated near the river. It is the most popular in the area because of services and facilities that are day tripper friendly such as complimentary shuttle rides from the train station, rest area, lockers, and the likes. On the other hand, for those who are staying overnight, Ichinobo provides luxurious accommodations for couples, families, and groups of friends. Stay-in guests also get to enjoy numerous pampering options in the in-house beauty salon and other relaxing activities at the lounge area.
Address: Nagahara-3 Sakunami, Aoba-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi
Price: From ¥15,300 / room / night
Iwamatsu Ryokan is the oldest establishment in the Sakunami Onsen district. It is the famous river bath built in the Edo period whose oldest sections are approximately 180 years old, and because of its long history, there is a unique atmosphere that guests can only enjoy here. When it comes to lodgings and facilities, this ryokan is satisfyingly complete and up to date. Whether you’re a solo traveler or traveling with a group, you will find yourself delighted with your stay.
Address: Motoki-16 Sakunami, Aoba-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi
Price: From ¥15,120 / person / night
Katakuri No Yado
Katakuri No Yado should be your top choice if what you aim is a fuss-free onsen experience in Sakunami. This place may not be as impressive as its next door neighbor, but they do deliver on a quality onsen ryokan experience. They have spacious hot spring baths to relax in, Japanese-style rooms complete with amenities, sumptuous food that reflect the region’s specialties, and convenient add-on services such as massages and free shuttle rides to and from Sakunami train station. It is as straightforward as you can get without compromising quality.
Address: Motoki-2 Sakunami, Aoba-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi
Price: From ¥ 14,800 / person / night
Set against the mountainous backdrop of Sakunami, Yunohara onsen is a more secluded retreat perfect for those who like something quiet. Its all Japanese rooms and traditional design compliment the peaceful ambiance, while its famous healing cuisine nourishes the bodies and souls of its guests. Book a stay here if overall wellness is what you’re after.
Address: Motoki-1 Sakunami, Aoba-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi
Price: From ¥7,560 / room / night
Website: http://www.yunohara.co.jp/ (Japanese only)
La La Resort Hotel Green Green
La La Resort Hotel Green Green is Sakunami onsen’s fun and friendly option. It is best for groups and families because of offerings like buffet dining and facilities like karaoke, bowling, and game corners. A major plus for families with kids is their shallow hot water pool. Hence, regardless of age, anyone is welcome to have a good relaxing stay.
Address: 5-12 Futatsubashi Sakunami, Aoba-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi
Price: From ¥8,800 / person / night
Website: http://hotel-gg.com/ (Japanese only)
All price information in this article is as of December 2017.
Thumbnail image is from Flickr.