Sujiyu Onsen "Iwanyu" / "Yakushiyu" / "Utaseyu"
We visited Sujiyu Onsen "Iwanyu" / "Yakushiyu" / "Utaseyu" in Kokonoe-machi, Kusu-gun, Ōita. First, we visited Iwanyu.
The dressing room is very simple. You can watch the compartments from the bath; however, keep your valuables by your side.
There are three public bathhouses in Sujiyu Onsen in total, and Iwanyu is an open-air bath while the others are indoor. The bathtub is made with stones and is filled with clear hot spring water. Frequent bathers say bathing at Iwanyu in the white snow is really fantastic.
Sujiyu Onsen has a long history. It opened in 958, and was developed as a hot spring resort in 1658 in the Edo period. It is located at the middle of the mountain at 1000 meters of altitude.
Hitoshi is 68 years old and runs a weekend business in Sujiyu Onsen. He always comes to Iwanyu on the way to go back to his home. Although he likes other hot springs as well, Iwanyu is his favourite.
This is another public bathhouse called “Yakushiyu” located nearby Iwanyu. Note that Iwanyu and Yakushiyu serve as a pair of Men’s & Women’s bath. That is, when Iwanyu is for Men, Yakushiyu is for Women, and they switch daily. Make sure to check that before getting in a bath.
Yakushiyu has a woody bathtub. This is nice as well.
Finally, the last one is “Utaseyu.” This may be the most famous one in Sujiyu Onsen.
The bathroom is filled with a lot of steam. Utaseyu is reputed as the water which treats muscle (筋肉 in Japanese) pain, that is the origin of the name “Sujiyu” (筋湯 in Japanese). This waterfall shower falls from 2 meters high, and it said to be good for back pain.
According to the director of Sujiyu Tourism Office, Sujiyu Onsen suffered from a massive fire in 1897 and 1949. The locals worked together to reconstruct the town including public bathhouses after the war with a limited materials and budget. Sujiyu Onsen holds a firework festival in May and an autumn festival in September. In those seasons, a lot of tourists visit Sujiyu Onsen.
Name: Iwanyu / Yakushiyu / Utaseyu (Sujiyu Onsen)
Address: Sujiyu Onsen, Kokonoe-machi, Kusu-gun, Ōita
Tel: 0973-73-5505 (Kokonoe-machi Tourism Office)
Access (Car): 1 hour 16 min from the centre of Oita City. 1 hour 19 min from the Oita airport
Parking Lot: None (Use a free parking in Kokonoe-machi)
Iwanoyu / Yakushiyu: Daily 07:00 - 22:00
Utaseyu: Daily 06:00 - 21:30
Price: JPY 300