Hitoyoshi Onsen "Hitoyoshi Ryokan"
We visited Hitoyoshi Onsen “Hitoyoshi Ryokan” in Kamiaoimachi, Hitoyoshi, Kumamoto. The building was built in 1930, and is registered as a national cultural property.
The manager Satomi and the staff welcomed us with a smile at the reception. She is not originally from Hitoyoshi, but is working hard to learn the history of the city where most of cultural properties in Kumamoto are preserved.
The bathroom is on the end of hallway. The aisle is well polished and mirror shining.
Boxes are available in the bathroom, also you can drink cold water for free.
Look at this picture. You can find a bench in the bathtub. This is quite unusual, and unofficially called as “Bench-bath.” Of course, we have never seen a bath like this. So we asked Satomi about the reason. According to her, the current bathroom was rebuilt in a long time ago when floods devastated the old bathroom. At that time, this deep bathtub was made mistakenly, and a bench was put in it by the previous manager as a solution to adjust the bath height. Actually, when we sat on the bench, the height was adequate and we could have a soak relaxing.
This is the faucet. Water from two hot spring sources are mixed to adjust the temperature to 42°C (107.6°F). The water is drinkable and not recycled. Also it has an exceptional smooth touch, and said as a “water of beauty.” Satomi says the water can substitute for a skin lotion.
Shinji (the name of the man in the bath) is a university professor teaching and researching Green Tourism. He has visited Hitoyoshi more than 30 times for his study. In this picture, he was teaching us Green Tourism while bathing on the bench. He said “I like this bench bath, and I’m wondering if this can be used as any benchmark.”
You can use the lounge after bathing.
Hitoyoshi has a lot to see which are not famous but attractive. First, this is Aoi Aso Shrine, a Japanese national treasure. The thatched roof is really nice.
Next, cruising in the Kuma river. These are the traditional ships. Cruising in a sunny day might give you a relaxing experience.
Finally, rafting is getting much popular in Hitoyoshi. This photo is taken at “Futamata-no-se” which is famous for the rapid stream. Rafting is really thrilling and entertaining, these days, many young people visit Hitoyoshi to enjoy rafting (also onsen after rafting).
Other than the attractions above, you can also ride a steam train. Hitoyoshi may be more attractive than you expect!
Name: Hitoyoshi Ryokan
Address: 160 Kamiaoimachi, Hitoyoshi, Kumamoto
Access (Car): 1 hour 17 min from the centre of Kumamoto city. 1 hour 11 min from the Kumamoto airport
Parking Lot: 35
Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 - 21:00
Price: JPY 600