We visited “Kaimon Onsen” in Nakamatama, Bungotakada, Ōita. There used to be a ryokan “Kaimonso” next to this onsen. The name “Kaimon” (海門 in Japanese) is a combination of “Kai” (海 which means Sea) and “Mon” (門 which means Gate). “Kai” derives from the founder’s job (fisherman) and “Mon” derives from his name is Kadota (門田). Kaimon Onsen opened in 1984 after the ryokan opened.
The reception is at the left-hand side of the entrance. Jyunko and her husband welcomed us on this day. They were very friendly and we could be relaxed during our interview. They and another couple work here in rotation.
This is the dressing room. There are compartments and boxes. As there are no lockers, we recommend you to leave your valuables in your car.
This is the bathroom. As soon as you get in the room, you will notice the iron fragrance, which will stimulate your imagination and expectation to the bath. The bathtub is not big, maybe four or five people is the maximum. According to the staff, some frequent visitors make a phone call before coming to Kaimon Onsen to ask for if the room is empty so that they can use the bath privately. We can understand them, taking an onsen bath privately is a gorgeous time.
The water is originally transparent, but it changes to brown after being exposed to air. Also, it contains a rich amount of natrium, and thus it is strong salty. A university professor evaluated “This is one of the most salty hot springs in Oita.” Additionally, the temperature is warm and the touch is soft.
Katsuharu comes to Kaimon Onsen from Nakatsu twice or thrice a week. He thinks this hot spring fits him. And, he also enjoys chatting with the staff when he comes to Kaimon Onsen.
Kaimon Onsen is operated by Bungotakada City Tourism Town Planning, and Kenji is in charge of that. In the past, Kaimon Onsen was operated by another organization and only opened irregularly. However, it was re-opened in July, 2015 after the operator changed. Since then, Kaimon Onsen opens daily to meet the demand from the locals. Kenji said he wants to spread the attraction of Kaimon Onsen to the wide range of people.
Bungotakada is known as “the town of Showa.” Bungotakada used to flourish through shipping business. There are still eight shopping malls. These malls were getting weakened in the past, and the concept “the town of Showa” was established to revamp the town and to enhance the tourism. The public office certifies a store as a “a store of Showa” according to the defined criteria, and certified stores get together to form a mall. After taking a bath, taking a walk in the Showa town might be enjoyable.
Name: Kaimon Onsen
Address: 1778-8 Nakamatama, Bungotakada, Ōita
Access (Car): 1 hour 14 min from the centre of Oita City. 1 hour 1 min from the Oita airport
Parking Lot: 7
Opening Hours: Weekdays 14:00 - 20:00, Weekends 11:00 - 20:00
Closing Days: Second and fourth Thursday
Price: JPY 350