Onsen YuTagawa

Well, Typhoon Lan has passed us by here in Fukushima Prefecture, and my family and I are fine. Apparently the nuclear power plant was fine.

Here at my home it’s been heavy rain, which tapered off this morning.  Today was cloudy and a little windy. Like (almost) always after a typhoon passes by, tomorrow’s forecast is sunny.

So anyway, recently we stayed at YuTagawa Onsen in Tsuruoka City in Yamagata Prefecture.

The entrance. The “Maneki Neko” cat beckons in both guests and money. (I can tell because both paws are raised.)

Entering the hotel.

Fun stuff to buy…

A map of scenic Shonai area (west coast of Yamagata Prefecture.)

Look! A crane on the cover of the seat cushion in the lobby! It really is TSURU OKA!  (Crane Hill)

The top three hot baths are offered by the hotel.  This is a different sort of onsen hotel—each bath is private.  First come first serve.

You go in–by yourself, or with your partner, or with your child, or with your friend, or with your mother-in-law OR with your partner and your child and your friend and your mother-in-law. (Or any combination.)

Other people don’t come in while you are bathing.  This makes it private.


Most onsen do it the following way: Women bathe in one bath together and men in a different bath. (Not private use. So you are bathing with strange grannies who ask you what country you are from and if you are married and if you can speak Japanese.)

The two bottom baths are at another onsen, but we YuTagawa people may use them. They’re the more typical kind.  Men in one. Women in another.

Whew!  This is confusing! No worry, it’s all legitimate and part of thousands of years of Japanese culture so let’s not get all prudish here.

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