We visited “Sasahara Onsen” in Yunoura, Ashikita, Ashikita District, Kumamoto, which is only a block away from the riverside.
On our arrival, Nobuaki greeted us saying “Welcome to Sasahara Onsen!” He is now 80 years old, but still really active. Sasahara Onsen was opened by his grandfather in 1925, and has more than 90 years of history. Nobuaki is the third owner. It used to have hotel accommodations but currently only offers a bathhouse service.
The dressing room is big and well maintained clean. As there are no lockers, you have to keep your valuables by yourself.
When you open the bathroom door, you will notice the subtle sulphur fragrance which is a sign of non-recycled pure hot spring water. You may be feel relieved. Also, the water is very clear.
The women’s bathroom has the same design. And showers use hot spring water as well.
The water is simple thermal spring with the sulphur fragrance. It also gives a gentle touch to your skin, which may enable you to have a relaxing soak. It is said to be good for back pain and surface wounds.
Sasahara Onsen is gifted with abundant water, the water springs from the source 320 litres per a minute. Although the source is located 100 meters below the ground, the water naturally flows up to 4 meters below the ground. Nobuaki says it naturally flowed up to the surface when he was younger.
Masakatsu, who is 70 years old, comes to Sasahara Onsen everyday. He still works as a guard. We asked him of other favourite hot springs, he said “None. I have been coming here for a long time, and I don’t have any interests on other options.” He also said, in this region, many people traditionally have their favourite bath.
Sasahara Onsen has an open-air bath as well. The bath temperature is 35°C (95°F) which is rather cool, but suitable for a hot summer day.
Finally, this is the ruin of the original hot spring source that was in use before building the current bathhouse. Taking an open-air bath with a sight of flowing river might be a superb experience. We hope Sasahara Onsen will continue to be a favourite bath for locals.
Name: Sasahara Onsen
Address: 66-1 Yunoura, Ashikita, Ashikita District, Kumamoto
Access (Car): 1 hour 14 min from the centre of Kumamoto city. 1 hour 8 min from the Kumamoto airport
Parking Lot: 60
Opening Hours: 07:00 - 20:00
Closing Days: Thursday
Price: JPY 220