Hinagu Onsen "Higashi yu"
We visited Hinagu Onsen “Higashi yu” in Hinaguhamamachi, Yatsushiro, Kumamoto. The appearance indicates the history of this onsen. In Hinagu, there used to be three public bathhouses -Banpei yu, Nishi yu, and Higashi yu. However, Nishi yu closed on March, 2016, and only two bathhouses are currently available.
This is the reception, you need to pay the entrance fee here. Higashi yu opens from 6am, this is because fishermen used to take a bath before going out to the sea, and the tradition is still alive.
In the dressing room, there are both open compartments and lockers. If you have valuables, you can use lockers.
The blue tiles and white tiles make a good contrast in the bathroom. Although pipes were renovated five years ago, the retro design of this bathtub is almost the same as when it was built 38 years ago.
A large amount of transparent water flows out of the faucet. According the manager Hideaki, the same water is shared with Banpei-yu. They have four hot spring sources, waters from all the four sources are stored together into a container and it is distributed to two bathhouses. As the original water temperature is 39°C (102.2°F), it is heated up to 42°C (107.6°F) in summer and 46°C (114.8°F) in winter.
He is a frequent bather Kenji. He has two brothers, and they (including Kenji) are well known in Hinagu. On this day, he was making ropes for the harvest moon festival in September before coming to Higashi yu.
There is a bench in the dressing room. It is called “Banko ばんこ” in Kyushu dialect. Also, the action “closing a door after opening it” is called “Atozeki あとぜき”. In Kumamoto, you can occasionally see this message written on a door.
Hinagu is famous for Chikuwa, and you can find a lot of Chikuwa stores in this city. The picture shows "Chikuwa Salad" which is a Kumamoto local food. It is a fried Chikuwa with potato salad put into its hole. This is yummy. You can have a walk in Hinagu while eating Chikuwa Salad.
We bought Chikuwa Salad in Toraya (とらや). According to the owner, he sometimes comes to Tokyo to join a Kyushu food exhibition. If you find Toraya in Tokyo, please try a local food Chikuwa Salad!
Name: Higashi yu
Address: 232 Hinaguhamamachi, Yatsushiro, Kumamoto
Access (Car): 56 min from the centre of Kumamoto city. 50 min from the Kumamoto airport
Parking Lot: 7
Opening Hours: 06:00 - 22:00
Closing Days: Every second Thursday
Price: JPY 200