Yamakawa Onsen "Kyodo Yokujyo"
We visited Yamakawa Onsen “Kyodo Yokujyo” in Kitazato, Oguni-machi, Aso-gun, Kumamoto. This onsen opened 60 years ago by an union of nine local families. They assumed there is a hot spring source considering the geothermal heat of Mt. Waitazan, and as a result, actually it was found by drilling 110 meters below the ground.
The building is not gorgeous, it looks like a typical local public bathhouse. Note that the parking lot is hard to find, don’t hesitate to ask the locals if you cannot find it.
The reception is unstaffed, just insert the coins to the box to take a bath.
The dressing room is quite simple, and there are no lockers.
As soon as you open the door, you will notice the sulphur fragrance. The hot spring water is clear and fresh, but is really hot. Some visitors come to Kyodo Yokujyo after taking a bath in nearby Nuruyu Onsen that is rather lukewarm or tepid than warm or hot.
A large amount of fresh hot spring water flows out of the faucet. It is said that the water treats surface wound and skin rush. According to Iwao, if you have a deep cut, you should avoid soaking it in this bath, because only a skin surface is healed before the recovery of inner wound, as the water treats a cut too much.
What is special in Kyodo Yokujyo is the amount of deposited minerals. Look at the picture, you can notice white things are deposited in the bathtub. Iwao says “I have never seen an onsen which contains as much amount of deposited minerals as Kyodo Yokujyo.”
Masakazu is 84 years old, and enjoys going around hot springs everyday. He used to work for a ryokan in Tsuetate Onsen for 25 years. He says that’s the reason why he smiles charmingly.
We found a lovely thing near Kyodo Yokujyo. This shelf looks like a typical unstaffed sales place, however, look at the lower compartment, there are books.
This is actually a local library. As the Yamakawa Onsen area is situated in countryside, deep in the mountain, there are no libraries, people voluntarily share books within the local community, we think this is a really good initiative.
Name: Kyodo Yokujyo
Address: 1395 Kitazato, Oguni-machi, Aso-gun, Kumamoto
Access (Car): 1 hour 39 min from the centre of Kumamoto city. 1 hour 15 min from the Kumamoto airport
Parking Lot: 15
Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 - 21:00
Closing Days: None
Price: JPY 300