Kan no Jigoku Onsen
We visited “Kan no Jigoku Onsen” in Tano, Kokonoe-machi, Kusu-gun, Ōita, which opened in 1849 in the Edo period. A hunter found a deer soaking in a spring by chance, and the locals constructed a bath. That is the beginning of this cool spring. And, Kan no Jigoku Ryokan has been running since 1928 and the current building was renovated in 2002 without changing the base structure.
The owner Masumi and his daughter Mawata welcomed us at the reception.
This is the dressing room. There also are lockers to keep your valuables safe.
The bathtub is made by Hinoki. As indicated in the name “Kan no Jigoku” (寒の地獄; 寒 means Cold), the water is coming from a cool spring source whose temperature is 14°C|56.2°F. As it contains sulphur ions, you can enjoy the fragrance and see deposited minerals while bathing, especially in the cool bath at the left in this picture.
The cool spring supplies two tons of water per minute which is a really large amount. As sulphur ion has a sterilization power, the bath is good for skin. Also, taking a cool bath and hot bath one after the other activates autonomic nervous system to promote blood circulation. Especially, women bathers say “It can cure swelling of foot.”
Koichi likes to visit hot springs, and came from Kochi Prefecture to come to Kan no Jigoku Onsen on this day. He was really satisfied with this bath. He next moved to Akagawa Onsen.
This is a stone-made bathtub. This bath and the Hinoki bath switches daily between Men’s bath and Women’s bath.
There is a Irori lounge next to the bathroom. It is filled with nostalgic charm.
Also, Kan no Jigoku Onsen offers three private/family baths.
This is the cold bath using the cool spring as is. It is filled with clear blue water. The temperature is 14°C|57.2°F, but, if you soak, you will feel as if it were 0°C|32°F. So, it is really cold. When you soak, you have to endure for the first three minutes, then get off the bath when your body starts shivering.
After getting off the bath, don’t wipe off your body and go directly to the stove room to warm up. By doing this, the minerals in the cool spring water penetrate into your skin. This room has been used from a long time ago, there are numerous writings on the wall.
Note that the cool bath is available only in Jul, Aug, and Sep.
This is a song of Kan no Jigoku Onsen hung on this room. The lyrics say “You have to endure in the cold bath that can freeze any stones and woods.” It sounds like a training rather than bathing...
Finally, Masumi and Mawata come back. As you can see in this picture, he really loves his daughter. Kan no Jigoku Ryokan serves Bungo beef cuisines and tasty drinks collected from across Kyushu. If you have a chance, staying at the ryokan can be a good option.
Name: Kan no Jigoku Onsen
Address: 257 Tano, Kokonoe-machi, Kusu-gun, Ōita
Access (Car): 1 hour 9 min from the centre of Oita City. 1 hour 12 min from the Oita airport
Parking Lot: 30
Opening Hours: 10:00 - 13:00
Closing Days: Wednesday
Price: JPY 500