Yoshida Onsen "Shika no yu"
We visited Yoshida Onsen “Shika no yu” in Shomyoji, Ebino, Miyazaki. As indicated in the name, it is said an injured deer soaked in a hot spring here to heal the wounds, and Yoshihiro Shimazu, who dominated this area in 17th century, discovered the hot spring about 450 years ago. And thus, Yoshida Onsen is known as the oldest hot spring in Miyazaki.
This is the lodge building. Honestly speaking, we thought this is not currently in use and nobody lives when we saw it at the first time. It is really damaged rather than aged. According to the owner, this lodge was built in the Meiji era, about 100 years ago, now it is inclined and roughly repaired; however, it is still in use and popular among some bikers and tourists who like this kind of super-aged buildings.
He is the owner Nobuo, he is the third owner in the history of Shika no yu. He loves chatting with guests and has a really good memory, during our interview, he told us many episodes and remembered the names of all the guests. When foreign visitors stay, he tends to serve Sukiyaki and it ends in the red after all, he laughed.
This is the dressing room, which is also amazingly damaged. It was built about 40 years ago, and seems it has not been repaired since then. This is one of the most damaged building we have ever seen. Nobuo says not a few visitors leave Shika no yu without taking a bath after being shocked at this room.
The bathroom is located downstairs. In the past, the hot spring rose up from the ground without using any artificial devices, and the bathroom had been getting lowered according to the water level which also had been getting lowered due to the decrease of hot spring water. Now the hot spring water is pumped up using a compressor and also heated up using a boiler as the temperature got down.
This is the bathroom, the bathtub is separated to two parts, and both filled with slightly yellow water. The type is alkaline, simple thermal spring. Note that the bath is hot, make sure to ease into the bath.
He is a frequent bather Akito, he lives nearby and has been coming to Shika no yu since he was younger. Most of the visitors are the locals and they meet up in the bath in the evening to chat with friends. Also, it is said the water treats skin cut and prevent it from getting suppurated.
This is a picture of wood chips used as the fuel for the boiler. As oil is expensive, Nobuo uses wood chips instead. Scooping wood chips and putting them to the boiler is physically hard for a man of 67 years old. He says “I don’t know until when I can work for Shika no yu. Everyone is aging.”
This is a small shrine dedicated to God of Yoshida Onsen. This was built about 450 years ago when Yoshida Onsen was discovered by Yoshihiro Shimazu. Currently, Yoshida Onsen is disappearing; however, we hope this onsen will remain in the future.
Name: Shika no yu
Address: Shomyoji, Ebino, Miyazaki
Access (Car): 1 hour 10 min from the centre of Miyazaki City. 1 hour 8 min from the Miyazaki airport
Parking Lot: 5
Opening Hours: Daily 09:00 - 21:00
Price: JPY 300