The Onsen experience is one not to missed by any tourist on a trip to Japan as it is a truly relaxing experience. Onsens are mainly segregated into Men’s and Women’s so it can be difficult to share this wonderful experience with your partner without hiring out a private onsen. But luckily there are a few onsen’s that still offer a mixed onsen experience and the Grand Hotel near Niseko is one of them.
Grand Hotel Niseko offers both Western and Japanese style rooms and is a fairly traditional Japanese Hotel with its own on-site Onsen and Buffet Resturant.
The Onsen at the Grand Hotel accepts day visitors and has one of the largest outdoor baths in the Niseko area. It is also a mixed onsen which means both women and men can relax together. A great way for couples or a group of friends to relax together after a day on the slopes. This onsen is surrounded by a beautiful forest and in winter, snow covers the side of the baths which makes it even more magical. To make everyone feel comfortable in the mixed environment, women are requested to wear ‘yuami’ which is basically a strapless dress you can rent for just 100 yen. Men can rent a similar pair of shorts or get a small towel to cover themselves although most men were just wandering around free during our visit.
There are two different types of water present in the onsen -‘moisturising’ sodium chloride and ‘sleek’ sodium hydro carbonate alkaline water that are blended together in the outdoor onsens. The high content of these minerals in the water has given the onsen the status of ‘rejuvenating onsen’ by the Beautiful Skin Onsen Association as the water is supposed to make your skin feel really moisturised after you leave. If you don’t want to venture to the mixed onsen then you can enjoy the different baths in the men’s and women’s sections with inside baths available for both sexes whilst women also have two other smaller outdoor onsens.
The Grand Hotel is Located in Konbu Onsen which is just south of Annupuri in the Niseko Area. It is most easily accessible by car but some seasonal shuttle buses do go to the hotel.
This is a great Onsen for couples who want to enjoy the experience together or anyone who wants to enjoy a relaxing soak in a beautiful outdoor forest setting.