Topic: 2 Day Trip: Okukinu (north of Nikko) Free Wild Onsen in Forest  (Read 544 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline andy duggan

  • Registered
  • Paid Member
  • Posts: 1300
  • Gender: Male
  • Nationality (国籍): British
  • Hiking Level (ハイキングレベル): Advanced or high level (上級)
This is one of the best trips in Kanto. It is still good in summer as the area is cooler so you can enjoy the free wild hot spring. You need to camp there as it is not a 1 day trip. Though the best time is middle of October.

LOG IN WEBSITE TO SEE ATTACHED PHOTOS!!!


Camp free by river, make your own bath with blue sheets provided there - enjoy relaxing in hot pool day or night (great star view). Cook there on fire or stove.

Up river about 1.5 hours is a"national treasure" (湯沢噴泉塔) large sulfur vent by river. Very beautiful and baths can be made nearby too. There are several places to make baths but the best is the first one where the river bed is wide and water comes out of the bore hole pipe (広河原の湯).

All details can be found in previous OCJ events usually in October - search for "Okukinu wild onsen".

OCJ events:

http://outdoorclubjapan.com/index.php?topic=3349

http://outdoorclubjapan.com/index.php?topic=946


Cheap Tobu train for Kinugawa Onsen - bus from there. Total cost about 6,000yen.

Heikedaira bus stop (平家平温泉) before Mie-oto-buchi onsen.

GOOGLE MAP - onsen valley and wild onsen
http://goo.gl/maps/fmQya

Online Photos
https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=%E6%B9%AF%E6%B2%A2%E5%99%B4%E6%B3%89%E5%A1%94&client=firefox-b&tbm=isch&tbs=rimg:Cdip5Z1rxY9EIjhnqXg3TsQiUqWa2mNaFf2JAOuWAmNqW_1Lzd8m5Q7bVwn01IzD_1IdvJ3qOTCA-nzxeRGF3DdQcASCoSCWepeDdOxCJSEV0-5Aj-O8lDKhIJpZraY1oV_1YkR39wOmYfpKIwqEgkA65YCY2pb8hEv_17dmvzAMhSoSCfN3yblDttXCEYq_1vh_11gDAFKhIJfTUjMP8h28kR2XcFcUqN6scqEgneo5MID6fPFxEiZ1-6el52fCoSCZEYXcN1BwBIEYCT0FsFjwMo&tbo=u&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjFtdzg0uDVAhUEWRQKHcKUBDkQ9C8IHw&biw=1920&bih=916&dpr=1


Someone needs to post and organize meeting, lead people. The path is shown on the Nikko hiking map in the top left corner. It is easy to follow but last time the path was damaged by rain - probably repaired now... but I recommend this is only for intermediate hikers (no beginners). The path goes over the river on bridge about 70m from bus stop, through the forest beside the river (higher up). Later it goes down to the river then back up. It is easy to see and follow. After 1 to 1.5 hours it reaches a concrete dam, then it crosses the river several times... look for the path on the other side. River is usually 20-30cm deep so need sandals to walk across then put boots back on. About 2 hours to camp spot.

I will upload some better photos later from 2014/15.
« Last Edit: Fri Aug 18, 2017, 08:17 PM by andy duggan »

Offline Jurga

  • Registered
  • Paid Member
  • Posts: 2
  • Gender: Female
  • Nationality (国籍): Lithuanian
  • Hiking Level (ハイキングレベル): Advanced or high level (上級)
Re: 2 Day Trip: Okukinu (north of Nikko) Free Wild Onsen in Forest
« Reply #1 on: Fri Aug 18, 2017, 08:57 PM »
Hi, guys! :)
I am new club member - Jurga from Lithuania.
Me and my husband went to this place last autumn (November) when we were hiking in Okukinu. The place is just owesome!!! One of the best spots I have ever visited in Japan. Highly recommended, but definately not for the very beginners. We found out about it from the old posts of this club. I am not sure, when was the last time you visited the place, but I could provide some info if needed. More photos could be found on our blog (unfortunately in Lithuanian language):
https://ryziai.wordpress.com/2016/12/05/ten-kur-teka-karstos-upes/

I would like to mention few things, that could be worth keeping in mind.
1. It is not very easy hike and takes really more than 2h from up river. Actually, it took us about 4h (at least 3h) to the campsite near the wild onsen. I have to add that we were moving fast because it was getting dark. Usually we hike faster then trail offered time. The path is about 5km, but there are many ups and downs, crossing the river several times (that takes time - we had to take our shoes off, because water was cold in November).
2. The path was not repaired for couple of years definately. Therefore, sometimes it was not very easy to find the path. In some parts path is washed away from the hill side, so you have to search for it near the river (crossing it sometimes). At that time, there were colorfull ribbons hanging on the trees - helped us a lot.
3. We reached the campsite in around 4h, spent the night there and in the morning hiked further to Funsento waterfall (leaving our stuff at the campsite). It took around 1h to get from the camsite to Funsento waterfall. I can't even decribe how amazing is that place! Waterfall has a cozy blue water pool that should be awesome to jump in on the warm day.
4. Locals told us, that there are pretty many black bears around Okukinu, which usually are afraid of people. But just as a precaution I would take bear spray or at least bear bell :) Also there are many wild monkeys - we met a group hanging around :)
5. Take some candles! It would make a great atmosphere near the onsen, so you can enjoy hot water romantically at night ;)
6. In Okukinu area there are few very nice ryokans with beautiful onsens, so if there is some time after the wilderness, it is worth to try those onsens. Mixed gender - everybody naked.

If I understood correctly, the date of hike is not yet decided - sometime around mid October. Maybe we could join and lead, but I have to discuss about this with my husband :)

If somebody has some questions about the place - don't hesitate to ask!

Offline marcb

  • Registered
  • Paid Member
  • Posts: 18
  • Gender: Male
  • Nationality (国籍): French
  • Hiking Level (ハイキングレベル): Experienced (経験)
Re: 2 Day Trip: Okukinu (north of Nikko) Free Wild Onsen in Forest
« Reply #2 on: Fri Aug 18, 2017, 09:22 PM »
Hello OCJ, Andy!

New member as well, Marc from France. Actually I have been registered for a while but it never worked so I can join one of your trips...
Brief introduction: I am working in Tokyo for a year (7 months already!) as a postdoc, I enjoy hiking, backpacking, and generally other outdoorsy stuff :)
I have quite a bit of experience backpacking in general, and even some in the Japanese mountains by now (I spent the Obon holidays in traversing the South Alps). I have a tent and camping gear at hand!

I am totally down for this, when do you think you'd want to go? I'd be happy to help putting this together, and maybe lead, but that'd be my first event with OCJ so I am not too sure about how it works.

Let me know!

Offline andy duggan

  • Registered
  • Paid Member
  • Posts: 1300
  • Gender: Male
  • Nationality (国籍): British
  • Hiking Level (ハイキングレベル): Advanced or high level (上級)
Re: 2 Day Trip: Okukinu (north of Nikko) Free Wild Onsen in Forest
« Reply #3 on: Fri Aug 18, 2017, 09:48 PM »
As I am in UK I cannot help ... people need to help each other and go together. It is quite a simple event to plan. Usually 0710 tobu train then mie-oto-buchi onsen bus is  about 30-45 minutes after arrival at Kinugawa onsen.

Hiking trail is on the Nikko map.
It is usually 2 hours - done many times. But if you do not know the path and there is damage then it takes longer.... depends on level of people also. There is plenty of time before dark - should arrive by 3pm.
Now is a good time to go - if not rain as it will affect the river and you need to cross it and camp near it. Autumn is the best though... usually 2nd or 3rd weekend in October. Call local onsen to check colours.


It was voted the second best wild onsen in Japan in a magazine - see attached pdf scan. The guy in the magazine photo is faking it - never hot in that part of the pool...

A few more photos from 2015 also.

If some posts the event it I will check the details over.
« Last Edit: Fri Aug 18, 2017, 09:50 PM by andy duggan »

Offline andy duggan

  • Registered
  • Paid Member
  • Posts: 1300
  • Gender: Male
  • Nationality (国籍): British
  • Hiking Level (ハイキングレベル): Advanced or high level (上級)
Re: 2 Day Trip: Okukinu (north of Nikko) Free Wild Onsen in Forest
« Reply #4 on: Sat Aug 19, 2017, 12:14 AM »
To Jurga.

In your blog it shows 'yuzawa-funsento' (湯沢噴泉塔) - the waterfall and sulfur vent. The camp spot and wild onsen I am talking about is 1-1.5 hours before that - Hirogawara no yu (広河原の湯). People camp at the wide pebble and sandy area a few kilometers before it. There is concrete block and pipe with hot water coming out and usually lots of blue sheets.
We walk to the sulfur vent as an extra hike.

On yamarecco a Japanese post has map times but going down.... 1.5 hours. It is not much different going up but say, 2 hours.

12:05 広河原の湯
(広河原の湯で入浴)
13:40 平家平温泉

https://www.yamareco.com/modules/yamareco/detail-365299.html

I do not recommend using the road route as they did going up.
« Last Edit: Sat Aug 19, 2017, 12:22 AM by andy duggan »

Offline marcb

  • Registered
  • Paid Member
  • Posts: 18
  • Gender: Male
  • Nationality (国籍): French
  • Hiking Level (ハイキングレベル): Experienced (経験)
Re: 2 Day Trip: Okukinu (north of Nikko) Free Wild Onsen in Forest
« Reply #5 on: Sun Aug 20, 2017, 11:29 AM »
Andy: oh I thought you were planning to do it and offering people to join.

No problem though the information you provided is more than enough to set this up, but are other people interested? Please make yourself known!

Offline andy duggan

  • Registered
  • Paid Member
  • Posts: 1300
  • Gender: Male
  • Nationality (国籍): British
  • Hiking Level (ハイキングレベル): Advanced or high level (上級)
Re: 2 Day Trip: Okukinu (north of Nikko) Free Wild Onsen in Forest
« Reply #6 on: Sun Aug 20, 2017, 05:58 PM »
You will probably need to set a date,  check the train and bus time, set a meeting time and place (train at Asakusa or Kinugawa onsen).
Once the basic plan is posted then people will sign up.

I can get a scan of the route map but it is on the Nikko map and quite easy to follow with some details I gave before.

Need to get to Kinugawa onsen by 1010am. There is usually a section rapid train for nikko and kinugawa onsen at 0710. I cant see it now but there are limited express trains. Worth calling Tobu company to check - English is good as many go to Nikko. Rapid train is very cheap.


Bus (1015am) from Kinugawa onsen station (鬼怒川温泉駅) to Me-oto-buchi (女夫淵温泉 onsen)
Exit station and the bus is near the car hire place on the left side about80m away.
Get off at Heikeidaira bus stop which is near the end (says 1148).

Bus route no 9 on this link (page 24):
https://www.city.nikko.lg.jp/seikatsuanzen/guide/seikatsu/bus/documents/jikokuhyou.pdf


Worth asking Tobu about the bus as well - check it, or ask a Japanese person signing up to call.

This onsen page shows the route and bus time:
http://www.naf.co.jp/kaniyu/traffic.stm

The hiking route starts a about 70m back from Heikeidaira bus stop - just cross the bridge over the river and follow the path. It is a valley path so never far from the river but sometimes higher up. After about 1.5 hours there is a quite new concrete dam and the path goes down there. After the dam is is not as clear but after 100-150m it crosses the river. After that the path is never far from the river and crosses several times - boots off best.
You will come to a large opening at the river with steam rising maybe from hot water pipe. There will be blue sheets around. I guess it will take you 2.5 hours.
That is the camp site.
The large sulfur vent is more than 1 hour further up and not good to camp there so do as a separate day hike.



Offline yogini1

  • Registered
  • Paid Member
  • Posts: 70
  • Gender: Female
  • Nationality (国籍): Japan
  • Hiking Level (ハイキングレベル): Above Beginner (初級上)
Re: 2 Day Trip: Okukinu (north of Nikko) Free Wild Onsen in Forest
« Reply #7 on: Mon Aug 21, 2017, 09:24 PM »
Andy,
This hike seems very interesting, but I read on the internet that the path is still damaged and hasn't been repaired.
In three parts, path is damaged and people have to make a detour and walk through bushes, kemonomichi.
I'm not confident enough to organize this event because of the damaged path. How were you able to make a detour?

Nozomi

Offline andy duggan

  • Registered
  • Paid Member
  • Posts: 1300
  • Gender: Male
  • Nationality (国籍): British
  • Hiking Level (ハイキングレベル): Advanced or high level (上級)
Re: 2 Day Trip: Okukinu (north of Nikko) Free Wild Onsen in Forest
« Reply #8 on: Mon Aug 21, 2017, 10:39 PM »
We did it 2 years ago when the damage was new from Typhoon. It was more difficult as no people had walked. Now I think easier as people will have made a new route.
I took a 6mm (600kg) hand safety rope around tree for people - now maybe not needed but it is always a good idea to take on paths you are not sure about. I would share cost between group for that event... about 15m/ 2000+yen is enough (remember its not a climbing rope so 6mm diameter is ok).

I think the path is better than before but I would still take the small rope. Also not for beginner I think.



The best bath was 2015 - near the concrete outlet pipe. Dug a little and built a wall around with larger rocks (only took 1 hour or less), put sheet in and filled up with hot water.... leave to cool an hour and get in. Use pipe to adjust trickle of water to keep hot. Bath in afternoon/evening, night and morning.

Carry some spirits or shouchu and enjoy. Can make fire near there and cook. Camp 20-100m away. Best camp is 70m upstream on the side or on flat sand. If rain then camp above sand.
It is a fantastic trip.

« Last Edit: Mon Aug 21, 2017, 10:48 PM by andy duggan »

Offline andy duggan

  • Registered
  • Paid Member
  • Posts: 1300
  • Gender: Male
  • Nationality (国籍): British
  • Hiking Level (ハイキングレベル): Advanced or high level (上級)
Attached are some details on hiking and government map.
As you can see, the map time to the wild camp and onsen is 2 hours. It might take you 2 hours 30 minutes if there are delays due to path damage or you miss a sign or red tape. I think ok.

Set up tents just after the onsen on sand or on the bank slightly higher.  Clean out hole and build up walls for onsen bath. Wash one of the blue sheets in the river and put in the hole, then use the pipe to fill it up - all done.
Enjoy.

I would hike up to the sulfur vent the next morning. There are places to take a bath but the camp spot is the easiest. Pack up tents and walk back down.
There are 4 buses a day and it used to be about 1,500 yen oneway.
It is actually only a little more expensive to rent a car next to Kinugawa Onsen station and park nearby the bridge. If 4 people perhaps it is easier (5 people then I'm sure cheaper than bus).

The Path
After the bridge near bus stop you will see the path climb to the right.... not much. There are signs every kilometer or so and  there is only 1 path. The path stays about 50-100m above the river but later on it drops to the river level and then you will see it go up again. There are some metal steps going up where there is a steep place... shortly after that you will reach the spot damaged by typhoon.  you may have to go into a small gulley and climb back up and cross a steep section where soil has fallen - I think better condition now as people will make a path. After that it goes level along the side and then down to dam construction. The path goes behind it and crosses rough ground - hard to see where the path gores for 100m but you can see where people walk. It crosses the river there for the first time (boots off - sandals on). You will see the path go through the forest on the other side - again, slightly above the river. One spot is rocky above the river - be careful (but it is safe). There are more river crossing but the onsen is only about 30 minutes away. You will see the river bed become wide, and probably steam from the hot water near blue sheets.
« Last Edit: Thu Aug 24, 2017, 11:51 PM by andy duggan »

Offline andy duggan

  • Registered
  • Paid Member
  • Posts: 1300
  • Gender: Male
  • Nationality (国籍): British
  • Hiking Level (ハイキングレベル): Advanced or high level (上級)
Re: 2 Day Trip: Okukinu (north of Nikko) Free Wild Onsen in Forest
« Reply #10 on: Mon Aug 28, 2017, 08:01 PM »
I talked with Nozomi and the cheap rapid train was stopped this year...

The best way is by car - hire car is cheaper if 3 people (and a lot more convenient). You can fit 5 people in larger car and it will be much cheaper than train/bus (7,500-9,000yen per person).

Hire car about 18,000yen total I guess.


Only possible discount for express train is kabunushi yuten - stock holder tickets. They will only save about 1,500 yen total. I think car is best.

Post Comment or Link