We chose to stay in Nasu Onsen 那須温泉, a spread out hotspring on the slope of Mt. Nasu. Yumoto 湯本 is the centre of the area, with many ryokans located, including the one we booked for the evening: Sanraku 那須温泉 山楽. This ryokan was started in 1923, visited by Emperor Showa 天皇昭和 before he decided to build his own imperial villa in Nasu, so there is a saying that his villa was inspired by the ryokan. It has a really beautiful backdrop of Nasu’s main peak: Chausudake 茶臼岳. The ryokan has prided itself with its hotspring, directly fed from the source 5.4 km away, with an abundance flow of 800 litres per minute. The ryokan made use of the gradual drop of temperature over distance to cool down the water and this hotspring is the same feeding the royal villa. We have booked the Modern Japanese Room with Garden Open-Air Bath. The bedroom is spacious (10 mats), with the veranda looking out at the garden, where there is a footbath along with the nice open-air bath with flowing hotspring, direct from source without heating or filtration. There are also two open and two indoor public baths, separately for male and female guests. The ryokan was not busy and so I had the whole bath for myself. I am particularly impressed by the open bath, created as a pool surrounded by the forest offering calm and tranquility. The other great feature was certainly the quality of the hotspring. Simple Onsen 単純温泉 in style, the semi-clear water has no smell, slightly alkaline and giving a nice smoothing experience. I felt all my neck pain gone after the soak and no wonder it was famous for healing properties. The ryokan also had a nice lobby with plenty of comfortable sofas looking at the window to the beautifully trimmed garden. Offering tea, coffee as well as wine and sake free for guests, we had a relaxing moment before returning to the room and got ready for dinner. Dinner is served at the private dining room Yumatsuki. We chose not to dine in room to avoid the smell of the food. All the dishes were fantastic in taste and plating, a true feast of flavors, texture and enjoyment. I also had the local sake Tentaka 天鷹, one of the most popular in Tochigi.