We visited “Yamato Onsen” in Noguchi Motomachi, Beppu, Ōita. This bathhouse was built right after the world war, and the right-green colouring, which is the symbol colour of this town, has been applied since then.
A statue of Kōbō-Daishi is enshrined at the entrance. Every year on Mar 21 in the Chinese calendar, the locals make an offering, such as a snack or onigiri, to this statue. This convention is called “Osettai” that derives from “Osettai” of Shikoku Pilgrimage.
You can find the reception at the opposite side of the entrance. Generally, it is unstaffed. Insert the JPY 100 coin to get in the bath.
Go downstairs to get to the bathroom.
On the left-hand side, you can find the dressing room which is integrated with the bathroom (there is nothing to separate these rooms).
There is a pretty rounded bathtub in the bathroom. The design is the same in the Women’s bathroom. The bath is a little bit hot. As frequent bathers prefer a hot bath, the temperature is adjusted to about 44°C (111.2°F) through the year. The room is very open plan with a two stories high ceiling and the bathtub in a basement, which provides a relaxing atmosphere with bathers.
This is a lever to adjust the amount of the hot spring water. You can turn it left to increase and turn it right to decrease.
They are frequent bathers Hiroyoshi and Sueo. They both come to Yamato Onsen at 2pm every day to meet up with friends.
Toshiomi, who is the chairman of the union managing Yamato Onsen, used to be a professor in a university. He is really knowledgeable about the history of Beppu. He told us the events that have happened in Beppu from Toji to the recent Onsen fad. He says onsen would break up into different groups in the future, such as an onsen for family, for public, or for resort. The culture of onsen might be in a transition now.
Name: Yamato Onsen
Address: 9-15 Noguchi Motomachi, Beppu, Ōita
Access (Car): 23 min from the centre of Oita City. 42 min from the Oita airport
Parking Lot: None
06:00 - 12:00, 14:00 - 23:00 (Summer)
06:30 - 12:00, 14:00 - 23:00 (Winter)
Price: JPY 100