Hinagu Onsen "Matsu no yu"
We visited Hinagu Onsen “Matsu no yu” in Hinagunaka Nishimachi, Yatsushiro, Kumamoto.
The owner Minetaka and his grandson who woke up just a moment before welcomed us at the reception. The grandson appeared in a TV show as a youngest receptionist when he was just 4 months old. Although he woke up in a bad mood, he welcomed us very well.
The dressing room is decorated with Hinoki wood, and very clean. There also are three lockers to keep your valuables.
We love this nostalgic tiled bathroom. The design has not changed since 1931 when Matsu no yu opened. As a result, this bathroom does not equip with showers. If you like bathing at onsen, you would soon like this design as well.
The Women’s bathroom has the same design apart from the colour. It is orange coloured while the Men’s bath is blue. Matsu-no-yu also offers a private bath.
This photo is taken from the opposite side. You can see there is nothing to separate the dressing room and bathroom. Also, there is a tiny hole in a roof to let a steam out from the room, which also let a breeze in. The owner says first-time visitors are often surprised with these architectures.
The water is transparent simple thermal spring. It is alkaline and a little bit thickened. They say this onsen treats back and shoulder pain.
A lot of locals come to Matsu no yu everyday. Chikara (the name of the man in the bath), who is 79 years old, has been coming to Matsu no yu since 1965. He says he only comes to Matsu no yu although he has a lot of other choices in Hinagu. He may have fallen in love with Matsu no yu.
To be precise, Minetaka’s wife is the third owner in the history of Matsu no yu. Matsu no yu closed for two months after 2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes. In that period, Minetaka and his wife worked hard together to reopen Matsu no yu as soon as possible. Actually, some parts of the bathroom decorations were painted by them because carpenters were too busy to fix everything damaged by the earthquakes.
Minetaka records the air and water temperatures everyday to let the bathers enjoy bathing in the best conditions. This maybe a reason why many locals like Matsu no yu.
Finally, we encountered a group of cats nearby. Hinagu is recommended for not only onsen person but also cat person!
Name: Matsu no yu
Address: 380-1 Hinagunaka Nishimachi, Yatsushiro, Kumamoto
Access (Car): 56 min from the centre of Kumamoto city. 50 min from the Kumamoto airport
Parking Lot: 8
Opening Hours: 08:30 - 20:30
Closing Days: Every second and fourth Tuesday
Price: JPY 200