Hitoyoshi Onsen "Motoyu"
We visited Hitoyoshi Onsen "Motoyu" in Fumotomachi, Hitoyoshi, Kumamoto. It is located 7-minute walk from the ruins of Hitoyoshi castle. The building is featured with Kawara (Japanese roof tiles) and white wall. The design is quite traditional.
In the reception, you need to pay JPY 200 (cheap!) to enter the bathroom. At the time we visited, a lot of frequent visitors (mainly locals) were chatting in the lounge. Masayasu says big parking space and cheap price may attract many locals. He also says foreign visitors sometimes come to Motoyu. The closing day is only the new year's day because many locals come everyday as they do not have a bath in their house. In this area, traditional houses do not equip a bathroom.
The dressing room is really clean and well maintained. Masayasu's motto is "What is important for public bathhouses is cleanness." There also are lockers in the room, if you want to use one, ask the reception to get a locker key.
This is the bathroom. This main bath has been used since 1933 when Motoyu opened. The bath still keeps its original figure. The hot spring source was discovered by four local people including Masayasu's grandfather. As the drilling point was within the castle territory, Masayasu says, if it were in this age, they couldn't do that due to the governmental restriction. He laughs.
The water is weak alkaline, and continuously flows out of the faucet. As the hot spring temperature is approx. 50°C (122°F), cold water is added to adjust the bath temperature. Frequent bathers say "Soaking in this bath can warm the body thoroughly, and that makes your mind relaxed." As they say, we were able to relax ourselves when we took a bath here.
Masanori (left) and Mamoru (right) graduated the same high school, they met up by chance on this day in Motoyu. They had a lot of catching up to do.
After the interview, we went to the ruins of Hitoyoshi castle.
As the ruins are located on the hill, you can have a fabulous view of Hitoyishi city. We wonder the feudal lord Sagara family (the lord of the Hitoyoshi area for 800 years until the Meiji era ) had the same view in a long time ago.
Address: 9 Fumotomachi, Hitoyoshi, Kumamoto
Access (Car): 1 hour 14 min from the centre of Kumamoto city. 1 hour 8 min from the Kumamoto airport
Parking Lot: 20
Opening Hours: 06:00 - 22:00
Closing Days: New Year's Day
Price: JPY 200