Kawazoko Onsen "Keisenso"
We visited Kawazoko Onsen “Keisenso” in Sugawara, Kokonoe-machi, Kusu-gun, Ōita. This hot spring was discovered by Sugawara no Michizane about 1100 years ago. The address name “Sugawara” also drives from his name.
Keisenso is situated at the opposite side of the river. The bridge is perfect for a start of an onsen adventure.
The building has been renovated recently. Open the door to go to the reception.
The owner Toshimi welcomed us with a smile at the reception.
The dressing room is new and clean. There are lockers to keep your valuables safe.
When you get in the bathroom, you will first find a small bathtub filled with warm water. Toshimi recommends to take a short soak here to warm up the body. And then, move forward.
Here is the main bathtub. It is made with stone and really nicely aged. It was constructed in 1856 and has been in use for 160 years. Also, the water is amazingly clear, thus the bottom of the bathtub can be seen clearly. Needless to say, bathing at this bath is perfectly soothing.
The hot simple thermal spring is naturally rising from the bottom of the bathtub. It is really fresh and soft.
Takanori (left, father) and Yusuke (right, son) came from Kurume. They both like Keisenso so much. After bathing at several hot springs, this onsen became their favourite. Since then, they regularly come here.
Also, there are private/family baths in Keisenso. A different hot spring source is used for these baths. They are popular among families, especially with babies or kids.
According to Toshimi, the bathroom used to be a mixed one. There was nothing to separate Men’s and Women’s bathrooms. There simply were three stone-paved bathtubs shared with men and women. She says she still loves that architecture. She is now planning to restore to the original architecture after the renovation of the main building finished. If restored, we should come again!
As the name “Keisenso” (蛍川荘 which means “Firefly, River and Lodge”) indicates, you can see fireflies along with this river in summer. If you have a chance, stay at Keisenso to take an excellent bath and to watch fireflies in the night. That will definitely relax your body and mind. It would be an ideal holiday.
Name: Keisenso (Kawazoko Onsen)
Address: 1453 Sugawara, Kokonoe-machi, Kusu-gun, Ōita
Access (Car): 57 min from the centre of Oita City. 1 hour from the Oita airport
Parking Lot: 8
Opening Hours: Daily 10:00 - 20:00
Closing Days: Not specified (depending on the weather condition)
Price: JPY 500