Akagawa Onsen "Akagawaso"
We visited Akagawa Onsen “Akagawaso” in Kujūmachi Akagawa, Taketa, Ōita. According to the owner Takaaki, Akagawa Onsen was discovered in the late 12th century by a soldier during the military training. There is an old record in Ikaraji Temple nearby. And, the name “Akagawa” (赤川 in Japanese, which means Red River) derives from the sight that the bottom of the river is coloured red due to the oxidation caused by the hot spring.
The owner’s wife Nagayo welcomed us with a smile at the reception.
This is the dressing room. There are lockers to keep your valuables safe.
This is the open-air bath which is filled with cloudy sulphur cool spring. The white colour indicates the water contains a rich amount of minerals, and actually contains excellent sulphur called Yunohana (湯の花) in Japanese. As the bath is not hot, it’s better to take this bath after soaking in the hot indoor bath. The waterfall shown in this picture is called “Yuhi no taki” which used to be called as “Gyojya no taki” (means Waterfall of Monks) because here was a training spot for monks.
Takayoshi (left) came from Oita, and his friend Shun (right) came from Chiba. Takayoshi’s hobby is bathing at hot springs. They were satisfied with this bath, and said “We will next move to Shichirida Onsen today.”
This is the indoor bath. Takaaki said Akagawa Onsen is situated at the middle of “Sulphur spring area” and “Carbonated spring area” in Oita, and fortunately the hot springs in Akagawa Onsen have the both characteristics. Currently, water from the cool (25°C|77°F) spring naturally rises up from the ground. He said he might get hot water if drilling deeper; however, he doesn’t want to do it because he thinks the spring is a gift from the nature. Also, he proudly said “We offer the best sulphur cool spring in Japan!” That was really impressive.
This bath contains the cool spring as is, so the temperature is low. According to Takaaki, taking this cool bath and the hot indoor bath one after the other is recommended. You can also drink the water to refresh the body from within and without.
You can drink the cool spring here. According to Takaaki, some visitors have actually cured atopy by regularly coming to Akagawa Onsen. Managing a sulphur spring is troublesome, he said, because sulphur can melt aluminum doors and cause troubles to a boiler and television.
He is the owner Takaaki. Akagawa Onsen is situated at 1100 meters of altitude, and the weather is similar to that of the mountain area in the Tohoku region (the north region in Japan). Hence, the surrounding nature and scenery change in accordance with the seasons. You can see green leaves, autumn leaves, and white snow every year. He described the seasonal transition as “Dramatic.”
Finally, he told us a funny story and we are going to share with you. According to him, a researcher reported “IQ of goldfish is 8.” IQ 8 is as intelligent (unintelligent) as “when you see something, you will forget it in the next moment.” That is the reason why goldfishes in a tank do not get mad. As they immediately forget everything, they never realize they are in a small tank. He said “If I were in such a small space, I will soon go insane.”
If you visit Akagawaso, please have a talk with him. He is really passionate and funny.
Name: Akagawaso (Akagawa Onsen)
Address: 4008-1 Kujūmachi Akagawa, Taketa, Ōita
Access (Car): 1 hour 21 min from the centre of Oita City. 1 hour 51 min from the Oita airport
Parking Lot: 50
Opening Hours: 10:00 - 18:00 (only opens on Fri, Sat, Sun and Mon from Apr to Nov)
Closing Days: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (closes from Dec to Mar)
Price: JPY 500