This is one of the most unusual onsen in all of Japan.

Sometimes there are sights and experiences in Japan that are so thrilling you want to share them with everyone. And then, there are other off-the-beaten-track destinations that are so rare and unique you want to keep them all to yourself.

This particular place is definitely in the latter category, as it’s a small secret onsen visited only by locals and Japanese people with a love for bathing in unusual surroundings. In fact, the onsen is so secret that searches for it online in English bring up no helpful results, which isn’t surprising, seeing as it’s housed in a building that looks like it’s not fit for entry.

▼ Scroll through the pictures below to see just how dilapidated
this wooden building appears to be.

It might be hard to believe, but this is one side of a building that houses an onsen that draws hot spring lovers from around the country to its doors.

If the outside of the building is astonishing, what can be found inside is even more surprising.

While the building might look like a long-abandoned haikyo ruin, it’s actually open to the public from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day.

Though with interiors like these, it might take some guts to strip off and bathe naked here after the sun goes down.

The location of the bath, beneath all these floors of apparent disrepair, has led to it being dubbed the “Dungeon Onsen“. However, when you slide open the door to the gender-segregated baths, they look absolutely beautiful.

After appearing on a number of television programmes, people around Japan are falling in love with the unique onsen, and many now say it’s at the top of their must-visit onsen bucket list.

▼ Winter would be an excellent time to visit.

If you are planning on visiting the hot spring, be sure to bring your own bath towels and washing equipment. And, like most secret onsen, the water here may well be scorching, particularly if people haven’t bathed in it recently, so you might need to agitate the water to cool it down before you get in.

At the entrance to the building is a sign that says “Indoor bath, reputable hot spring, Oimatsu Onsen“. Meaning “Old Pine”, Oimatsu is a lovely moniker for the public bath, seeing as old wood is undeniably one of its defining features. However, just because something is old doesn’t mean it isn’t strong – pine trees are a symbol of long life in Japan, standing steadfast even in the harshest of conditions.

We hope this hot spring continues to thrive in the years to come, in spite of its own harsh conditions. But shhh – let’s keep the location of this secret hot spring to ourselves.

Onsen information
Address: Tochigi-ken, Nasu-gun, Nasu-machi, Yumoto 181
Hours: 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.
Fees: 500 yen (adults); 300 yen (children).

Source: Hachima Kikou
Featured image: Instagram/onsen_journey