Ótani no yu
We visited "Ótani no yu" in Matsuyama-cho Onomi, Shibushi which is located at the middle of the mountain. Ótani no yu has over 100 years of history, and Mr. Kenzaki (current owner) is the 5th owner in its history. It is said that, a long time ago, someone found a rock with a stain of animal blood, and then found a hot spring source under the rock, that is how Ótani no yu was found. The animal is said to have been there to cure his wounds.
The owners Shigetaka and Megumi kindly welcomed us at the entrance. Ótani no yu is managed by them.
The dressing room is simple, there are only shelf and some boxes on it.
The bathtub is small, the maximum number of concurrent bathers might be two. As the water source is a cool spring and the water needs to be heated up artificially for bathing, it is difficult to make the bath bigger. The owner says the water can heat up your body throughly in winter and treats skin rushes and atopy.
There is a stove next to the bathroom, the owner Megumi talks to bathers through the wall to adjust the bath temperature using wood fuels. This stove also heats up the air temperature in the bathroom, that eases bathers in winter. Adjusting the temperature using wood fuels is an exhausting job, however, she says she likes to talk to bathers and "Thanks" from them makes her so happy.
This is the faucet. The hot water in the bathtub is precious, be considerate to other bathers and do not waste the water.
Yoshinori (the name of the man in the picture) is a frequent bather, and is 83 years old born in 1933. He says the water treats surface wounds, actually he had his finger cut a couple of days ago, but bleeding stopped when he soaked the finger into the bath for a while.
Wood fuels are prepared by Shigetaka. Ótani no yu uses 10 tons of wood per year.
The lounge of Ótani no yu is always filled with many frequent visitors and their smiles. They comes to Ótani no yu almost everyday to chat with friends. The lounge serves as a hub for social interaction in local community. They also are open to visitors, so if you go to Ótani no yu, visit the lounge to chat with locals. It will make your experience special.
Finally, we found piles of kindling in a barn behind the main building. Preparing not only wood fuels but also this amount of kindling might be a tough job.
Name: Ótani no yu
Address: 542-9, Matsuyama-cho Onomi, Shibushi, Kagoshima
Access (Car): 1 hour 44 min from the centre of Kagoshima city. 1 hour 22 min from the Kagoshima airport
Parking Lot: 15
Opening Hours: 06:30 - 18:00
Closing Days: Wednesday
Price: JPY 400