Yugawachi Onsen "Kajikaso"
We started our visit from Yugawachi Onsen "Kajikaso" that is located at the middle of the mountain in Izumi city, Kagoshima.
"When was this lodge built?" We asked Mr. Matsugano. He is also not sure about that. However, as some of the long-time regular customers (60s or 70s) said "My grand father built this lodge, and I am proud of it", he guessed this lodge might have been built more than a hundred years ago.
The staff were friendly. They welcomed us with a simile.
This is the locker. As you can see, each compartment is open. You might think this is not secure to keep your valuables. However, you don't need to worry about the security, because this locker is in the bath room and there is nothing to separate the bath and the locker, so you can always keep an eye on your stuff while you are soaking.
This is the main bath (called shimonoyu, "下の湯" in Japanese). The water is light-green coloured and exceptionally clear. If you soak into the water, you may be surprised with how clear the water is. Also, you may know that each onsen has its own unique water and provides you a different experience.
In the Edo era (17th - 19th century), this onsen was dominated by the samurais in the Kumamoto and Kagoshima areas, and normal citizens could not enjoy this onsen. And, it was the Meiji era (early 20th century) when this onsen was opened to the public.
Look at this, you can see a ripple on the surface of the water. This is the evidence of the freshness. The hot water bubbles directly from the bottom of the bathtub. The water is not artificially heated or mixed with cold water. The temperatures range from 38°C to 39 °C (101ºF to 102ºF). Even though there are more than 4,000 onsens in Japan, this type of natural bubbling water is really unusual.
This is the sub bath (called kaminoyu, "上の湯" in Japanese). The quality of the water is almost the same, but the bath is bigger than the main bath. And, maybe due to that fact, the sulphur flavour is little bit strong.
The manager says that the recommended season is summer because of the temperature of the water. Considering the average temperature of Japanese bath (41°C to 42 °C (106ºF to 107ºF)), the water of Kajika-So is little bit cool. And, he also says the water is heated up in winter.
Name: Yugawachi Onsen "Kajikaso"
Address: 2060, Takemoto, Izumi, Kagoshima
Access: 15 min by car from the JR Izumi station
Parking Lot: 25
Opening Hours: Daily 07:30 - 19:30
Price: JPY 300