Shiratori Onsen "Ueyu" / "Shitayu"
We visited Shiratori Onsen “Ueyu” and “Shitayu” in Suenaga, Ebino, Miyazaki. This is the appearance of Ueyu.
Takamori Saigo spent three months in Shiratori Onsen to enjoy hot spring bathing and hunting after he left the job in Tokyo and came back to Kagoshima. The manager Yuzuru, venison (meat of deer) is good for building energy, therefore Takamori selected here for his therapy and recovery.
The onsen is situated on the way to Ebino Plateau, you can enjoy beautiful sights from your car. Yuzuru guesses that this location might be strategically important because all of the three castles in Satsuma-han can be monitored from here.
Yuzuru welcomed us with a smile at the reception. He is knowledgeable about the culture and history of Satsuma-han as well as Shiratori Onsen.
The dressing room is clean, you can also use lockers.
This is the bathroom. In Shiratori Onsen, the hot spring water is generated in a unique method. They mix up the cold ground water and hot steam containing a rich amount of minerals gushing from the crevices of the ground to generate the hot spring water.
This is the open-air bath. You can overlook Ebino City. As the city is located on the Kakuto caldera, it is very cold in winter, but the white winter scenery is awesome.
He is a frequent bather Toshiro. He is now 82 years old and still works as a farmer. He comes to Shiratori Onsen when he is suffering from neuralgia. Yuzuru says the water treats joint pain and bronchitis, some patients who look for the best therapeutic hot spring finally settle here.
There is a steam bath as well, follow this board to get there. In Japanese, we describe gushing points of hot spring steam as Jigoku (地獄) which means “Hell”. So, this board indicates the location of the hell.
After taking a 5-minute walk, you will get to the hell. If you see steam rising, you will be overwhelmed with the wildness of nature.
This is the steam bath which uses natural hot spring steam. The building is built on the gushing points, you can hear the gurgling sound from the bottom. The temperature in the room is 59°C (138.2°F) and very hot. As soon as you get in the room, you will start sweating. However, don’t worry, you can bring buckets of cold water into the room, and pour it over your head to refresh. Also, there is a bath filled with cool water. We can say this is one of the best steam baths as long as we have experienced.
This is the signboard of Shitayu which is located near Ueyu, you can get here within 10 minutes of driving. The hot spring water is almost the same, the difference is that Ueyu is popular among visitors and Shitayu is popular among the locals.
This is Shiratori Shrine situated nearby Shitayu. It’s a historical place.
Yuzuru says, according to the regional folklore, Shiratori Shrine was established by a Buddhist monk named Shōku who was a pioneer of Kirishima mountains 1000 years ago. When Shōku was reading aloud the sutra in the mountain as a Shugendō practice, a swan embodied with the spirit of Yamato Takeru suddenly came and told him to open a shrine. Later, this this shrine was adored and treated as God of War by the Shimazu clan in the Sengoku period. Shiratori Onsen has a unique history as well as an excellent hot spring, it is highly recommended.
Name: Ueyu / Shitayu (Shiratori Onsen)
Address: 1470 Suenaga, Ebino, Miyazaki
Access (Car): 1 hour 12 min from the centre of Miyazaki City. 1 hour 10 min from the Miyazaki airport
Parking Lot: 20
Opening Hours: 07:00 - 20:00
Closing Days: Every first Tuesday
Price: JPY 310