Meto Onsen launches a new outdoor array this autumn: outdoor sauna, mini-pool, and dome tents

The Meto Onsen open air bath, brimming with rustic charm. The facilities are aiming for a new guest base by developing an outdoor environment.

The Meto Onsen hot spring in Eastern Hokkaido’s Ashoro Town is known as the oldest hot spring in the Tokachi region. This autumn, it will launch new outdoor sauna facilities, a mini-pool, and dome shaped camping tents. Amidst a decreasing customer count due to the impact of COVID-19, the goal is to develop a new customer base among the youth and parents with children when the pandemic subsides. The new format will target the high price range lodging experience, aim to stand out through a course menu featuring dishes specializing in local ingredients including beef and cheese, and transform its branding from a “secluded hot spring lodge” to a “lodge specializing in food and outdoor experiences”.

Opened in 1901, Meto Onsen is secluded hot spring on the same level as spas like Tomuraushi Onsen. The spring facilities draw on free flowing spring water from a source that wells up luxuriously from the Nukanan River, which flows through woodland filled with virgin forest trees including the Sakhalin fir. The bathing area is popular for its three open air baths, with gender separate and mixed gender options.

However, the yearly average guest count of approximately ten thousand guests, combining both daytime users and overnight users, is in a decline. The cause is aging among regular guests who visit from nearby areas via car. Additionally, last year’s guest count was cut in half due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The idea behind the renovations is that a diverse guest base is essential to survival for long standing hot spring facilities.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, hot spring property manager Ito is focusing on utilizing the sauna boom and the popularity of outdoor environments that allow users to avoid the Three Cs (crowded places, close contact settings, and closed spaces). Using federal business sustainability subsidies, etc., Ito will outfit the area around the lodging area with dome-shaped tents for couples and families to serve as glamping facilities that allow guests to enjoy luxurious camping and barbeque without needing to bring any camping supplies. Also, an outdoor sauna and a mini-pool measuring nine meters in length and three meters in width will be added. Service will launch at the end of October. Pricing has not been announced yet.

Hot spring property manager Ito commented, “Using sightseeing resources rich in natural scenery and local ingredients with a high added value, we want to convert into a high quality and deluxe price lodging facility.”


Meto Onsen