We visited "Yamadera Kósen" in Kamiharaigawa-chō, Kanoya which is located at the foot of Mt. Takakuma.
This is the building, you can find it at the back of the parking space. The building was built 30 years ago.
The owner Hisao welcomed us with a big smile at the reception. His smile relieved us.
There are no lockers in the dressing room. It is very simple, there are some boxes for putting your clothes.
The bathtub is filled with brown-coloured water. The original water gushing from the cool spring source is transparent, however, as the water contains rich iron ion, the colour changes to brown as the result of oxidation. The owner says the water also contains rich sulfate and it is good for surface wounds.
The cool spring water, which is approx. 20°C (68°F), is heated up using a heavy oil boiler. The water flowing out of the faucet is really hot, so the owner says, if the bath is too hot, you can add cold water to adjust the temperature. He also says, sometimes "Hot bath" people and "Warm bath" people have a disagreement in the bath, but he cannot help it. Please make sure to ask other bathers in advance if you want to adjust the temperature.
Mitsugu (the name of the man in the picture) is 80 years old and comes to Yamadera Kósen everyday with his wife. He recommended us to take the hot bath and cold bath one after the other. We tried it, and it was actually really good!!
The owner Hisao and his dog Rin-chan. He says "Although Yamadera Kósen has only 40 years of history, the cool spring source might be opened in the Kamakura or Heian era (1100 - 1300)." According to the local folklore, Kūkai spent some days in this region, and he only went to the places where the pure and clear water existed. Hisao guesses that the cool spring existed in the Kūkai's age, and he took a bath with the same water as Yamadera Kósen in a long time ago.
Name: Yamadera Kósen
Address: 8775-4 Kamiharaigawa-chō, Kanoya, Kagoshima
Access (Car): 1 hour 28 min from the centre of Kagoshima city. 1 hour 7 min from the Kagoshima airport
Parking Lot: 20
Opening Hours: 13:00 - 21:00 (last entry at 20:30)
Closing Days: Every Tuesday, New Year Holidays
Price: JPY 390