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Onsen Hopping in Kyushu

With its dense population of bubbling volcanic sources, Japan is arguably one of the major hot spring destinations of the world and is said to have more hot springs than any other country, with a large percentage of them in Kyushu. From the hot spring sands of Ibusuki to the hidden local bathing towns of Yufuin, there’s a seemingly endless supply of hot spring water pumping through this less traveled Island, and here are just a handful of our favorites.

Onsen Hopping in Kyushu

Index

  • Tsuetate Onsen Town, Kumamoto

  • Beppu Area, Oita

  • Yufuin, Oita

  • Hinagu Onsen Town

  • Kurokawa Onsen, Minamioguni, Kumamoto

  • Kumamoto Ibusuki Sand Bath

  • Tsuetate Onsen Town, Kumamoto

    Tsuetate Onsen Town, Kumamoto

    Tsuetate Onsen Town, Kumamoto

    In the far north of Kumamoto, deep inside a steaming valley crevasse is where you’ll find Tsuetate, an onsen town, and resort filled with healing water and a fascinating history. The origin of this onsen town goes back to the 1800s, and throughout its lifetime its role has changed many times. Once considered a luxury travel destination, and often referred to as ‘Kyushu’s inner sanctum,’ it was where the area’s high society folk came to unwind. Today it’s open to visitors from all walks of life and makes for an excellent place to explore Kyushu’s hot spring legacy. Tsuetate has several small ryokans and bathhouses making it a comfortable day trip spot, or a worthy weekend destination. If you do make it, be sure to try onsen vegetable steaming, and snap some unique photos of The Maple Bridge impressive collection of wooden e-goi plaques covered in wishes.

    Tsuetate Onsen
    Address
    Kumamoto Pref. Asogunogunimachi Shimojou A stand
    Phone
    0967480506
  • Beppu Area, Oita

    Beppu Area, Oita

    Beppu Area, Oita

    Located in the northeast of Kyushu, Oita Prefecture is a hotbed of hot spring activity, and the town of Beppu is the unofficial headquarters. With so many onsen outlets, it can be difficult to decide where to begin, so let’s run through some of the best. With its steam billowing along the mountainside, Horita Onsen area is one of Beppu’s most picturesque. Great for young people and families, this area has several onsen facilities, which are cheap to enter (210 yen for adults and 100 yen for children) and allow guests with tattoos.
    Named after a nearby waterfall (which is well worth a visit) Shiraito no Taki is perfect for those wanting to bathe with opposite-sex companions in a private setting. This onsen requires guests to rent a private room for a fee of 1,000 yen for 50 minutes. For a more community-centric experience, The Kannawa Onsen area is where you should head. A neighborhood crafted from winding alleys smothered in clouds of steam, Kannawa Onsen is where the locals go for their regular wind-down bath. There are many bathhouses to choose from here, making it perfect for an evening of bath-crawling.

    Beppu Onsen
    rating 110 Reviews
    Address
    Oita Pref. Beppushi Chuoumachi Around
    Phone
    0977242828
  • Yufuin, Oita

    Yufuin, Oita

    Yufuin, Oita

    A little more compact compared to its neighbor Beppu, Oita’s city of Yufuin is perfect for those who want to feel like they’ve discovered a well-kept hot spring secret. Located at the base of Mt. Yufu, some of the area’s baths offer views of Lake Kinrinko and Mt. Yufu. Not for the faint of heart, or those prone to overheating, Yufuin’s baths tend to lean on the hotter side, with water sitting around the 40C+ mark. Once you’ve had a soak, head over to the shopping district of Yorozuya to browse the local craft shops and pick up some traditional Japanese pottery.

    Yufuin Hot Spring
    Address
    Oita Yufu Yufuincho
    Phone
    0977842446
  • Hinagu Onsen Town

    Hinagu Onsen Town

    Hinagu Onsen Town

    Sitting on the southern side of Kumamoto, near the ocean is where you’ll find Hinagu Onsen Town. Far from a major tourist attraction, Hinagu Onsen is excellent for those who want a more low key side of Kyushu. Make an effort to explore, and you’ll realize that this is a town full of hidden surprises and endearing local charm. The major bath complex is Hinagu Onsen, which also houses a restaurant, a snack bar, and a gift shop.

    Hinagu Onsen
    Address
    Kumamoto Yatsushiro
    Phone
    0965334115
  • Kurokawa Onsen, Minamioguni, Kumamoto

    Kurokawa Onsen, Minamioguni, Kumamoto

    Kurokawa Onsen, Minamioguni, Kumamoto

    In the mountains north of Aso caldera, Kurokawa Onsen was a booming tourist destination in the 1960s. Today, it’s a charming, rustic local onsen town with something for all traveling types. Somehow managing to avoid the influence of significant redevelopment due to tourism, the area feels almost untouched. You won’t find any monolithic concrete hotels, neon signs, or major convenience stores, but rather a collection of locally run businesses proud of their community-centric heritage. Perfect for enjoying the natural beauty of Kyushu, the area is famous for its outdoor hot spring baths, and almost all of the town’s ryokan have at least one. If you’re looking to disconnect from the manic energy of the city, and truly refresh and reconnect with nature, this is the place to do it.

    Kurokawa Onsen
    Address
    Kumamoto Pref. Asogunminamiogunimachi Manganji River
    Phone
    0967440076
  • Kumamoto Ibusuki Sand Bath

    Kumamoto Ibusuki Sand Bath

    Kumamoto Ibusuki Sand Bath

    For something a little different, the Saraku Sand Bath Hall in Ibusuki is a novel adventure. Dressed in a yukata, guests are buried underneath piles of heated sand powered by the nearby volcanic activity. The combination of sand weight, heat, and high sodium content are said to improve blood circulation, digestive problems, rheumatism, neuralgia, and to rid the body of toxins. Given that it’s an experience near impossible to find anywhere else in the world, if you’re in the area it’s well worth trying at least once.

    Ibusuki Onsen
    rating 5 Reviews
    Address
    Kagoshima Pref. Ibusukishi Yunohama -Twelve-cho, etc.
    Phone
    0993222111
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