Tucked inside Hotel Niseko Ikoi-no-Yuyado is the Iroha Onsen. Operated by Hokkaido Chuo Bus it underwent a comprehensive renewal in 2015 and the polished interior and contemporary design shows it well. Formerly known as Hotel Niseko Ikoi-no-Mura it was recently renamed Hotel Niseko Ikoi-no-Yuyado Iroha. It sits adjacent to Annupuri Forest Park and just a short walk from the Aunnupuri Ski Resort making it an easy-to-include onsen destination during a Niseko ski holiday.
Facilities include a large open-air bath filled with carbonated spring water that has a smoothing effect on the skin. The open-air bath is divided by a natural wood fence and surrounded by tall pines trees that are particularly beautiful when covered in powder snow during the winter. The outdoor bath is lined with large boulders of natural stone which gives the bather the feeling of being completely in nature. Inside, 3 more baths of varying temperatures allow the visitors to repair their bodies after a day spent on the slopes. A hot cypress wood sauna sits between the locker room and indoor baths. Large glass windows are everywhere within the Iroha Onsen, which creates a light and airy ambience and continuous views of the winter landscape just beyond.
The water quality of the outdoor bath contains 248mg of silicic acid, which is said to be effective in beautifying the skin. The spring water also contains sodium and hydrogen carbonate making the Iroha Onsen somewhat of a rarity in Japan. Bathers exit the bath with a distinct refreshing feeling called “Seiryo-no-yu” in Japan.
At the center of the bathhouse are 2 wide pools with a one meter depth and slightly different water temperatures. A constant flow of sulphur water flows into the bath, sourced from below the hotel.
When one travels throughout Japan an appreciation for the possibilities of hot spring water builds. At Iroha Onsen the water consists of sodium-chloride carbonated water that visually has a slightly opaque, greenish appearance. The nose will sense a vaguely metallic odor that is genuinely comfortable to bath in. The secret ingredient of this hot spring is meta-silicic acid which we were told contributes to more beautiful skin.
For residents of Annupuri Village the Iroha Onsen is a favorite stop throughout the year for a multitude of reasons. First, it is convenient and easy to access by foot, bus or by car as it is located just below the Annupuri ski hills and a short walk from bus stops. This makes it easy to schedule after a day’s activities and before dinner. Second, it is one of the most reasonably priced onsens in Niseko. Third, the Iroha Onsen offers a complete package of well-chosen furnishings, amenities and professional staff. Finally, after recent renovations the onsen is now sparkling with a modern freshness that combines well with its traditional water qualities and location. The outdoor view into the Annupuri forest is special and made all the better with the choice of a natural black stone bath and real wood fencing. The rare combination of great spring water and a special view is fully realized at Iroha Onsen in Annupuri.
Entering Iroha Onsen one passes through a series of elegant sliding doors crafted from wood in a lattice pattern commonly found in finer establishments across Japan. Inside one is greeted by a beautiful flower arrangement that varies throughout the year. The New Year’s arrangement is always special so be sure to include a visit on your holiday stay in Niseko. Friendly staff are professionally attired in gold jacket uniforms and add a distinct air of elegance to the spacious interior atmosphere.
Tickets for the onsen are obtained through a traditional vending machine with large buttons for each set. The basic set is for onsen and towel with other choices including add-ons like drinks. Staff help guide you through the selection making it easy for those who do not speak Japanese. After obtaining a ticket shoes are removed and placed in nearby lockers. Next up a pair of onsen slippers are picked from another set of lockers and you are ready to enter the onsen.
As one walks back through the central lobby to the left there is the Koikawa Cafe. Visitors can enjoy a wide selection of beverages and simple savory dishes like ramen, soba noodles and Japanese sweets after the bath. Also on offer is the traditional “Onsen Tamago” (egg soft boiled in the hot spring waters). Koikawa Cafe opening hours can be checked on the Iroha Onsen Facebook page or website.
FACILITIES: Indoor & outdoor baths, dry sauna, cold dipping bath, steam sauna (next to the swimming pool), coin operated massage chairs
HIGHLIGHT: Sodium carbonated spring water helps heal joint pain, neuralgia and provides skin beautification. Outdoor bath surrounded by snow-capped pine trees is beautiful in the winter.
COST: Adult: JPY 1000
HOURS: 12:00~22:00 pm Facility Closes 21:00
TEL: ☎ 0136-58-3111
477 Niseko, Niseko-cho, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido, 048-1511, Japan
鯉川温泉 〒048-1321 北海道磯谷郡蘭越町字湯里592
WEBSITE: IROHA ONSEN