Kabeyu Onsen "Fukumotoya"
We visited Kabeyu Onsen “Fukumotoya” in Kokonoe-machi, Kusu-gun, Ōita.
You can follow the signboard to get to Fukumotoya. This is the appearance.
The manager welcomed us with a smile at the reception. The bath is located a couple of minutes of walk from here.
Move down along with the river, then ...
Here is the bath. It is a cave bath on the right-hand side of the path. Currently, the water level of the bath and the river is different; however, it used to be the same. The bottom of the bathtub is gradually getting lower because of an erosion.
Although it is not big, there is a small place to put off your clothes. You can use a locker to keep your valuables safe.
The wall of rocks is magnificent. The name “Kabeyu”, which means “Hot spring of wall”, derives from this unique structure made by nature. Also, the water is amazingly clear. You can find an instruction on how to bath saying “1-hour soak is not enough for experiencing the excellence of the bath, you must take at least 2-hour soak.” You might think “It’s too long!”, but you may agree with it after following the instruction.
The warm hot spring water naturally flows out of cracks in the rocks. As a large amount of water is supplied, the bathtub is filled with the water within 3 to 4 minutes after washing it. Also, taking a long soak after playing sports can prevent muscle pain. Some say it is good for skin as well.
Mitsuhiro runs a construction company, and always stops by at Fukumotoya whey he goes to his hometown. He had been coming to Fukumotoya with his grandmother since he was 5 years old, so he has a lot of memories of this place.
Fukumotoya also offers a private/family bath. This design is impressive. You may never forget once you see this. Amazingly, this is made by hand.
Fukumotoya opened in 1907; however, the hot spring has been used for about 300 years from the Edo period. Originally, a small dam was constructed in the river and it was used as a hot spring bath. According to the local lore, a man saw a deer soaking here, and then he discovered the hot spring.
What is special in Fukumotoya is that you can drink alcohol while bathing. As the bath temperature is low, drinking doesn’t matter. The owner Eisaku likes to take a long soak and drink beer in summer and hot saké in winter. You can bring this wood board in the bath and put drinks on it.
By the way, there is another tourist attraction called “Sendo no taki” (Sendo Waterfall) close to Kabeyu Onsen. In the past, there were no roads to that waterfall and only local hunters can see that. However, now everyone can see.
In this region, there is a legend about a beautiful immortal woman. According to the legend, the hot spring was made by her to purify herself, and after purifying at Kabeyu Onsen, she returned to Sendo no taki. Thus, Kabeyu Onsen is also called as “Sendo no yu.”
Name: Fukumotoya (Kabeyu Onsen)
Address: Kabeyu Machida, Kokonoe-machi, Kusu-gun, Ōita
Access (Car): 54 min from the centre of Oita City. 57 min from the Oita airport
Parking Lot: 30
Opening Hours: Daily 09:00 - 20:00
Price: JPY 300