Sitting in one of these on a very cool spring evening with a nice cold bottle of Japanese sake and the sounds of raging water flowing down a mountain you sigh your first real breath of release from deep within. You know the journey is over and sitting there warm and cozy in this womb of nature the water absorbs deep into you and heals you of all fatigue and strain.
Often times I am reminded of the beauty of Japan when I leave the larger cities. Miyagi Prefecture was a placed I had visited a few times in search of silence and quietude, and discovered it. This time around I was solo and found that the charm of country life still remains, even today. Iwamatsu Onsen is a place often discussed amongst onsen aficionados as one of the best rare one of a kind hot spas.
What may be off putting for travelers is how long it takes to reach Iwamatsu Onsen. From Sendai, if you use city bus, will take you about 60 minutes and will cost you a little over 1000 yen one-way. Another option would be the local line to Sakunami Station which takes around 40 minutes. How much I do not know. The hotel where I stayed offers a bus service but requires you make a reservation in advance for pick up service.
The type of person who comes to this area, or any area in Miyagi is someone who has plenty of time on his/her hands as buses and trains are infrequent. Plus, Miyagi is a large prefecture and you need time to see it and enjoy it. Miyagi and Sendai are quite different and share nothing other than Sendai being the capital. On a cool wet overcast day, just ambling about tiny little deserted hot spring towns and taking in all that is left of old mills and lumber yards, one can gain a sense of appreciation for how well preserved these places still are even today. Your hands are cold and wet; you are hungry and you've been walking all day. And then you check-in to your onsen ryoukan and thaw out those tired bones, each and every bone in that hot steamy hot spring spa with gorgeous views of the Miyagi backcountry.