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Ohami Onsen

Ohami onsen in Tochigi prefecture. Ohami onsen is an open air hot spring belonging to a ryokan.
At the bottom of the gorge there are several small baths, of which on is half in a concrete cave. Further up the cliff is another bath which is for woman only. The temperature of the open-air baths at the bottom of the gorge was unpleasantly low when I was there in the fall. Actually it was too cold to feel comfortable. The water is clear and has no special smell or taste.

There are no shelters to undress and put ones clothes in, but for guests of the ryokan that is probably no problem, as they will probably will be going down to the baths in their yukata.

Map of Tochigi prefecture.Go on either the Tohoku express way or route 4 to Nishinasu town, and then follow route 400 west towards Shiobara town. After a while you will be driving in a beautiful gorge with a river on your left. About half way to Shiobara town you will find Ohami onsen, the ryokan, on your right side of the road, and the baths will be on you left side down in the gorge.

I had read about Ohami onsen in one of my Japanese hot spring books. I had seen this beautiful naked Japanese girl in a rotenburo, and it all looked very good. I was therefore looking forward to visiting this hot spring. When I finally got the chance, it was already late in the year, and it was getting cold. I remember being rather cold when I finally arrived on my Harley, and I was really looking forward to a hot bath. I parked my Harley and went to check out the bath. On my way down I passed 4 young charming Japanese girls. "Would this be my lucky day to have some pleasant company?" I thought. I soon passed the woman's bath, so I guess there would not be any pleasant company this time neither.

I got to the bottom of the gorge and found 2 small baths. I checked out the temperature, but it was not too hot. At least I would not get boiled. The bath half inside the concrete cave was just too cold and dirty, so I decided to go for the other wooden bath behind a rock. I undressed and got in, but I soon had enough. It just was not hot enough to be comfortable to be in for an extended period of time. I got up, got in my 3 pair of pants, my 3 pair of shirts, my sweater and my leather jacket, and took of again probably looking like the Michelin man.

Other visitors comments and adventures:

I have visited this hot spring 3 times. The first time I went was in the middle of winter during a snow storm. After a nice long soak I headed back up to the hotel to wait for the bus back down into the city. When it was about time for the bus to come the owner of the hotel waited outside with me in the snow. We had a nice conversation and it was then that I decided I would have to come back and stay at the hotel when I had a chance. Since that time I have stayed at the hotel twice. The nice thing is they welcome single travelers. Staying at the hotel gives you the opportunity to trek down the hill as many times as you want quickly throw off your yukata and enjoy the bath. The bath in the hotel leaves a little something to be desired, but with such a nice bath down below I didn't really care.

Staying at the hotel you also get the chance to eat a delicious evening meal in your room. The last time I was there I got a wonderful treat of "basashi" the lady that served me was a little anxious about my reaction when she told me what I was eating, but it was delicious.

Mike Wagner

I went to Oo-ami rotenburo on 9/22/02 with my girlfriend. I had been there a couple of times by myself and with a female friend, but this time the experience was much more interesting and exciting. My girlfriend had never been to onsens in Shiobara, and she actually seemed keen on the idea of konyoku, even though she had never tried it before.

Well, at first we went to check out Iwano-yu and Fudono-yu, as I had enjoyed those rotenburos by myself a few time before (usually in the company of many Japanese guys and a few Japanese older ladies). Well, this time both of these rotenburos were very full, and many of the guys were standing around totally naked with everything in full view of passersby. Some guys even were walking from the hotel on one side of the river to Iwano-yu, across a bridge, just with their little towels. I was a bit surprised, but I was also eager to get in the rotenburo, but my girlfriend was kind of shocked. She hadn't exxpected to see lots of guys' members in full view. Anyway, needless to say, she refused to go in, so we checked out Fudono-yu. Here it was a bit more restrained, with many guys in the bath (with and without towels) and 2 attractive maybe late 20s Japanese girls wrapped in towels. Well, my girlfriend again refused to go in. As a last resort before having to go to a place where we would have to bath separately I suggested we try Oo-ami, explaining that in addition to a great konyoku rotenburo they also have a ladies only section. She agreed.

After climbing down the stairs to get to Oo-ami, we found a very nice atmosphere. There were families with little kids, some older ladies, some young couples, and some single guys bathing in the big upper level rotenburo. Evenn though some of the girls were just holding their towels over their laps exposing their breasts, and some were totally naked, my girlfriend agreed to go into this one. I think the kind of happy family atmosphere appealed to her, and also maybe the shock had worn off. Anyway, I changed in the guys' changing place (very exposed) while she changed in the out-of-view ladies changing area. I got in the bath first, and then she joined me a bit later. I must admit that it was very exciting to be in a rotenburo with many young girls, some of them showing everything. One well-endowed girl was even posing for pictures. Most of the guys were modestly covering themselves but at least a couple were sitting with their legs in the bath showing everything. I kept my towel over myself both out of modesty and out of embarassment that mine was definitely smaller than some of the Japanese guys'. I guess some of the girls were curious though because I noticed quite of few times they were checking out the bulge in my little white towel. Anyway, my girlfriend and I both very much enojyed the experience. It was really refreshing that so many people didn't feel embarassed about their nakedness, and could all enjoy a nice bathing experince together. I will definitely go back there again sometime.


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