We visited “Oku-Myoban Sanso” in Yuyama, Beppu, Ōita. This onsen is operated by the owner Katsuhito who used to be an onsen geek and inherited this hot spring from the previous owner 10 years ago. To get to Oku-Myoban Sanso, you need to turn left from a national road into a narrow road, but the route is hard to find (actually, we got lost two times). Please have a look at the following picture.
This is the signboard. If you go to Oku-Myoban Sanso, remember this board and look for this carefully when you get close to the destination. Also, please be noted that this board cannot be seen at night, thus, we strongly recommend you to go to Oku-Myoban Sanso during the daytime, especially at the first time.
After arriving at Oku-Myoban Sanso, you can find a board indicating the location of the reception counter. The mascot character painted on the board is called Yu-kichi-kun.
You can ring the bell to call the reception staff. Megumi welcomed us with a smile at the reception. She is the mother of Yu-kichi-kun. As this onsen has been operated by an onsen-geek Katsuhito, it was too serious, but now Yu-kichi-kun is softening the atmosphere.
Oku-Myoban Sanso only offers private bathrooms. There are three bathrooms in total, and, don’t worry, it is available if you are alone. As Katsuhito is an onsen geek, he considered “Onsen geeks want to use a bath privately” and “Family bath is getting more popular in the future”, then he renovated the previous bath to three private baths when he inherited this hot spring.
Yu-kichi-kun appears on the entrance as well. He explains the characteristics of the hot spring water.
This is the dressing room.
The water is cloudy-white, and contains a lot of deposited minerals. The water is generated by mixing pure ground water and steam gushing from the ground which contains a rich amount of sulphur. As the many frequent visitors are attracted by yellow deposited minerals swaying in the bath, Katsuhito changes the ratio of the water and steam to adjust the amount according to the weather conditions. He calls it “Water Control” and that is the key to maintain the quality.
Oku-Myoban Sanso is popular among people who like sulphur spring. Many repeat visitors come regularly from big cities. The average temperature is set to 42°C (107.6°F), and is set to 40°C (104°F) only in summer.
Akira (the name of the man in the bath) comes from Kitakyushu. He likes onsen and says “I want to keep Oku-Myoban Sanso secret because I have to wait if many people come.” Onsen lovers always want to keep their favourite onsen secret.
One of the three bathrooms is equipped with an open-air bath. The bathtub is made with the Beppu stones.
There are so many DIY goods in the lodge. Katsuhito tries to make everything by himself as far as possible. It’s always his first option because he considers Oku-Myoban Sanso as his work and his characteristics can be the difference between other bathhouses.
Of course, this steamer is made by Katsuhito.
This is a DIY device as well. This is a bath thermometer covered with a bento box.
He is the owner Katsuhito. This is a silencer built on the hot spring source, which imitates Amanosakahoko. He now has an interest on collaborating with other industries such as a geothermal power generation using hot spring steam. We hope his challenge will be successful.
Name: Oku-Myoban Sanso
Address: 1 Kumi Yuyama, Beppu, Ōita
Access (Car): 37 min from the centre of Oita City. 48 min from the Oita airport
Parking Lot: 10
Opening Hours: 10:00 - 20:00
Closing Days: Every Wednesday (Not applicable on holidays and in the peak season)
Price: JPY 500