We visited “Abagahira Kósen” in Tsutsumi, Kobayashi, Miyazaki. When we drove the car, we found this curious signboard which says “Legendary Kósen”, and soon we decided to go there.
We followed the guide and found a gate after several minutes of driving.
This is the appearance of the building. A chimney indicates the water source is a cool spring. We asked the owner Shigeaki about the name “Abagahira” because this name only appears here (it’s not the name of this area), he answered he is not sure about that as well. In the past, he had wondered and searched the history of the name, but he was not able to reach the origin.
In the reception, Kazuki who is a relative of Shigeaki and helps him operate this kósen kindly welcomed us. After having a talk with him, it turned out he is very passionate person.
The dressing room is well maintained and clean. As there are no lockers, you have to keep your valuables by yourself.
The is the bathroom. Shigeaki says sweet fragrance comes out of the water at the first bath every day. The touch is gentle and the water is clear. He says the water is transparent because it is heated up gradually using firewood, if heated up in a short time using an oil boiler, white deposited minerals appear.
Considering the source is a cool spring, enough amount of water is flowing out from the faucet.
Nobuo (the name of the man in the bath) is 84 years old and comes to Abagahira Kósen every two or three days. It is said the bath is good for neuralgia.
This is the open-air bath. You can enjoy the sight and sound of Iwase River while bathing. That is really de-stressing. Sometimes you can see carps swimming in the river from the bath.
This is a small shrine situated in the garden under which the cool spring source is located.
You can find a horse statue behind the shrine because the history of this cool spring began from a story related to a horse. In the Edo period, a man left a horse that broke its leg in this area, and some days later he came back here and found the horse cured the leg in a pond of a cool spring. That is the begging of Abagahira Kósen.
The owner Shigeaki (right) used to be a local assembly member and now he is operating Abagahira Kósen for the sake of the local people. Amazingly, he uses his private money to compensate the monthly deficit. We met a friend of him on the day we visited, and he said Shigeaki is really dedicating himself to preserve this kósen. He used to maintain Abagahira Kósen alone, but now Kazuki (right) supports him.
This is a picture of firewood to be used for heating up the cool spring water. Using firewood is cheaper than using oil; however, cutting and carrying the wood is a physically tough job. Doing this every day is not easy for the elderly.
Kazuki says they have considered to close Abagahira Kósen several times, but they decided to continue because frequent bathers asked him to do so. As a business, running this kósen is quite difficult, but they hope to run as long as they can do.
Name: Abagahira Kósen
Address: 1833-2 Tsutsumi, Kobayashi, Miyazaki
Access (Car): 1 hour 3 min from the centre of Miyazaki City. 1 hour 1 min from the Miyazaki airport
Parking Lot: 20
Opening Hours: 13:00 - 20:00 (last entry at 19:00)
Closing Days: Every second and fourth Monday
Price: JPY 500