A Hot Spring Beloved by Akita’s “Matagi” Hunters

Society Work

In the old days, the matagi, Japan’s traditional hunters, lived and hunted in the mountains, preserving the know-how of hunting in groups for bears, serow antelopes, and other big game. There used to be many matagi villages in the Senboku and Ani regions of Akita Prefecture.

The Aniuttō district of Kitaakita, once such matagi settlement, is home to a famous hot spring that soothed the tiredness and injuries of the hunters. At the Matagi no Yu hot spring inn, guests enjoy a naturally flowing hot spring, in addition to baths with water added to achieve the ideal temperature, and dine on typical matagi fare, such as bear stew.

A museum adjoining the inn offers insight into the wisdom of the matagi, who adhered to strict rules and followed the way of the mountains as they lived their lives in the heavy snows of Japan’s north.

(Originally published in Japanese. Created in cooperation with Cable Networks Akita.)

Akita Prefecture animals