Disaster-hit areas are returning to normal in Murakami, Niigata Prefecture. (Provided by Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc.)

TSURUOKA, Yamagata Prefecture--Two hotels at a popular hot spring resort here have bounced back from a powerful earthquake that struck on June 18.

"Welcome to our hotel," said a smiling Kunihiko Wakamatsu, the manager of Atsumi Hotel Atsumiso, while receiving six guests from Saitama Prefecture on June 22.

"I'm looking forward to enjoying the food and hot spring," said a 56-year-old woman, one of the arriving guests. "I'm glad to see that business has resumed."

The hotel was one of two that reopened that day at the Atsumi Onsen hot spring resort after repairs were completed for water circulation pipes and their safety was confirmed.

Wakamatsu said, "I was able to receive customers without any problems, so I am relieved."

Atsumi Onsen attracts 200,000 tourists annually.

The temblor, which hit off Yamagata Prefecture, registered an intensity of lower 6 on the Japanese seismic scale of 7 in Tsuruoka.

It rendered onsen facilities at all seven hotels at Atsumi Onsen unusable, and leading to cancellations one after another.

Atsumiso, for example, received cancellations from about 40 people, one-third of the reservations for the rest of this month.

One of the hotels has remained in operation. The remaining four continue to be shut down although they expect to reopen on July 1.

Workers in the tourism industry have engaged in clean-up and promotion activities, hoping to help the resort return to normal as soon as possible.

The Senami Onsen hot spring resort, also along the Sea of Japan coast, is located in Murakami, Niigata Prefecture, where the earthquake registered an intensity of an upper 6.

Hotels in the area have also received cancellations even though their facilities were not seriously damaged.

The local hotel cooperative association displays the status of hotels and sightseeing boats on the municipal government and tourist association websites.

Taikanso Senami no Yu, which stands near a beach, making summer a good time for sales, had about 120 reservations covering about 700 guests canceled as of June 20.

Katsuhiro Ozaki, executive managing director of the hotel, said, "I'm worried about failing to attract tourists ahead of the peak season.”

(This article was written by Takanori Sato and Keita Yamaguchi.)