Hitoyoshi Onsen "Hanamaki Onsen"
We visited Hitoyoshi Onsen "Hanamaki Onsen" in Shimoharadamachi, Hitoyoshi, Kumamoto. It has a big parking space. Hanamaki (華まき in Japanese) consists of two words, Hana means flower and Maki means farm.
Hanamaki Onsen opened 25 years ago. Yoshiyuki decided to drill the ground to discover a hot spring source because one of his friends worked for an hot spring boring company. At that time, all of his family are strongly against his decision, however, when the boring started, fortunately, a hot spring was found by drilling only 420 meters below the ground. Once he confirmed the quality of the water, he was convinced that it was so good that the advertisement was not required. The water temperature is 35°C (95°F), and the water is carbonated and contains fine bubbles.
Sumiko welcomed us with a smile at the reception. She smiled and said “This month is the 50th anniversary of the marriage.” Seeing a happy elderly couple is heartwarming.
There are no lockers in the dressing room, make sure to keep your valuables by yourself. Yoshiyuki said “These days, most of the bathers are really considerate to others and use the facilities so clean.” And that have allowed him maintain the bathroom with less effort, he smiled.
In the bathroom, there is only a simple woody bathtub. And you can see a cherry tree outside the window. In the season of cherry blossoms, they are illuminated.
The water type is carbon dioxide spring, thus soda water flows out of the faucet. Yoshiyuki said “Carbon dioxide spring cannot be hot. If it’s hot, carbon dioxide will naturally get out from the water.” As the temperature of Hanamaki Onsen is moderate, bubbles do not get out of the water. When you soak, bubbles attaching to your skin give you an exceptional smooth touch.
They are frequent bathers Fusato (left) and Seiji (right). Actually, Fusato’s two grandsons were behind the camera and waved their hands to him. That is the reason why he gave us the best smile. Seiji comes to this onsen almost everyday, and said “Once I experienced Hanamaki Onsen, I have never thought to take other baths.”
Hanamaki Onsen also offers a private bath. The bath is filled with the original hot spring as is (not heated up). The temperature is 35°C (95°F).
Yoshiyuki said “Let’s show you an interesting demonstration.” and suddenly put the dry towel into the bath, then started moving it round.
Then, carbon dioxide contained in the water suddenly started to get out from it. The white things in the picture are the fine bubbles of carbon dioxide. Not a soap.
A surprising amount of bubbles! The bath looks as if it were a bath of Sprite!
He then took a shower to continue the demonstration.
What an amazing bubbles!
However, please note that this is only allowed for the demonstration. Generally, you can neither put your towel in the bath nor hit the bath with the spray from the shower.
Finally, we will share a lovely story of Yoshiyuki and Sumiko. The hot spring was found 28 years ago, in winter of 1988. They took a bath together at night to measure the amount of springing water. Yoshiyuki still remembers the big beautiful moon he saw from a tiny bath on that day. Also Sumiko said she still cannot forget the emotion on that day. After soaking together, her body were thoroughly heated up in a cold winter day. The onsen warmed not only her body but also her heart.
Name: Hanamaki Onsen
Address: 1518 Shimoharadamachi, Hitoyoshi, Kumamoto
Access (Car): 1 hour 31 min from the centre of Kumamoto city. 1 hour 24 min from the Kumamoto airport
Parking Lot: 30
Opening Hours: Daily 10:00 - 22:00
Price: JPY 400