Nozawa onsen is famous for it’s small public baths scattered around the town. Onsen 温泉 means hot springs in Japanese. Usually it’s a small wooden building with two sections: for man and woman. I haven’t seen mixed baths (called konyoku) in Nozawa. There is usually small undressing area with cloths cells followed by the main washing room and pool with hot mineral water. The temperature varies from place to place and depends on season, but it’s VERY hot. It’s actually used to boil eggs called onsen tamago 温泉卵, so you can imagine how hot is it.
Usually entrance is free and baths are unattended. However everything is clean and tidy. I was always wondering who is that invisible creature that takes care of the baths. The mystery was explained when I once wondered into one of the bathes very late at night. It was empty, only this local man in traditional straw hat was finishing his daily cleaning routine.