We visited Tatsugashira Onsen in Shisuimachi Tashima, Kikuchi, Kumamoto, which is located in a quiet countryside.
The manager Noriko welcomed us at the reception. Many visitors are chatting in the lounge, and everyone looks happy.
The dressing room is simple, but well maintained and clean.
There are two baths in the bathroom, the one at the near side contains warm water, and the other contains hot water. As a large amount of water always flows out, the water in the baths are completely replaced in every two hours. This sodium bicarbonate saline spring is said to be good for back pain.
The women’s bathroom has the same design.
Look at the cloudy white surface. As the water is carbonated, small bubbles are naturally generated. Considering the high temperature (43°C | 109.4°F), this is quite unusual. Generally, carbonation is weakened in high temperature. Frequent bathers like to soak at near this faucet, sometimes they wait in line to get the best position.
Motohiro (the name of the man in the bath), who is 87 years old, comes to Tatsugashira Onsen everyday. He had worked for a city office for 40 years, and prior to that, worked for the Japan Self-Defense Forces. Thanks to that, he still has a robust body.
In Tatsugashira Onsen, you can enjoy an open-air bath as well. Feeling a breeze in the bath is quite relaxing.
Hideyuki says the trigger of drilling a hot spring was that his wife dreamed of a funny story which told her the drilling point. And a hot spring was actually discovered followed by the instructions in the dream. It’s curious, however, many onsen owners have told us the same kind of stories in our interviews. The best way to discover a hot spring source might be dreaming of that.
Finally, in Tatsugashira Onsen, local vegetables and flowers are sold in the lounge. Locals come here not only for bathing but also for chatting with friends. The biggest attraction of this onsen may be its hospitality for guests to serve as a place for social interactions, not just providing bathing services.
Name: Tatsugashira Onsen
Address: 620-1 Shisuimachi Tashima, Kikuchi, Kumamoto
Access (Car): 38 min from the centre of Kumamoto city. 38 min from the Kumamoto airport
Parking Lot: 50
Opening Hours: Daily 06:00 - 22:00
Closing Days: New Year’s Day
Price: JPY 300