Akita Prefecture’s Hachimori Isaribi Onsen Hatahata Kan offers various indoor baths with floor-to-ceiling windows and expansive views of the Sea of Japan. Its outdoor baths will give you a refreshing sea breeze as you soak.
This unassuming building is conveniently located in Happo, along Akita’s coastal highway route 101 which historically has connected travelers between Akita and Aomori since the sixteenth century. Add it to your travel itinerary if you’re heading up to Akita to explore the UNESCO World Heritage, Shirakami Sanchi. A relaxing bath is the perfect way to end a day of hiking.
The onsen is known locally as Hatahata Kan, named after Akita’s famous delicacy, the hatahata fish. The tiny fish are so popular that it even has its own theme song and dance! One of the outdoor baths here even resembles a hatahata fishing boat.
Any time is a good time for an onsen stop, but watching the sunset from these baths is highly recommended. The facility is also one of the only places in northwestern Akita that has a hot rock sauna, which has heated stones that you can lay down on and relax achy muscles. Be sure to rent a bathrobe before heading in!
Beyond having an awesome onsen, the sleepy coastal town of Happo has incredibly picturesque scenery. Its shorelines are dotted with impressive rock formations that jut out into the Sea of Japan. In winter, local fishermen precariously stand on these rocks to catch hatahata.
Taking a quick soak during your travels is one option, but if you have the time consider staying overnight. All the rooms at Hatahata Kan have ocean views so take your pick.
By staying overnight you can enjoy a unique Akita dinner featuring hatahata and other locally caught, fresh seafood. If you go in the winter, you can try grilled hatahata with buriko (roe), which has a soft but crunchy texture. No wonder the locals love this stuff!