Yunotsuru Onsen "Youraya Honten"
We visited Yunotsuru Onsen “Youraya Honten” in Yude, Minamata, Kumamoto. In the Yunotsuru Onsen area, a lot of ryokans are situated along with the Yude river, and the most of them have a traditional architecture. Walk across this bridge to get to Youraya Honten.
He is the owner Yuji who inherited this ryokan from the previous owner six years ago. He originally lived next to Youraya Honten in his childhood, and lived in Minamata for a long time in his adulthood. He wanted to buy an onsen and had been searching for it for 10 years. He spent a lot of time for the investigation and actually went here and there in Kumamoto. And, finally, he had an unexpected opportunity to buy Youraya Honten. That might be his destiny.
The bathroom of Youraya Honten has a unique architecture.
This is the dressing room. No lockers are available. You can use a box on the shelf to keep your clothes.
What is unique in Youraya Honten is that you have to go downstairs to get to the bathroom. Going downstairs means approaching the hot spring source which used to be located on the river bank. While you are going downstairs, you might be excited to see how the onsen is.
This is the bathroom. The water temperature is adjusted to the range of 42°C (107.6°F) to 43°C (109.4°F) throughout the year. It is a little bit hot in summer but still relaxing.
According to a folklore, a crane (crane is tsuru 鶴 in Japanese, yu-no-tsuru means “water of crane”) cured the wounds by soaking in an onsen in this area, and that was the beginning of Yunotsuru Onsen. It is still said that the water especially treats surface wounds.
This is the faucet. The original water temperature is 55°C (131°F), but is is adjusted to be suitable for bathing. Also, the hot spring source is currently located at 150 meters below the ground, though other ryokans in Yunotsuru has sources at approx. 250 meters below the ground.
They are a local frequent visitor Takeshi (left), and Kenji (centre) and Ryoichi (right) who came by Youraya on the way to go back to their home in Miyazaki. Ryoichi says there are a lot of good onsens in Miyazaki as well. We will visit soon!
The most popular season of Youraya is winter. More than 100 visitors come during a winter season. In recent years, it is getting popular among European and American people.
This is a sight in the Yunotsuru area. Many ryokans are located along with the Yude river. When Yuji was younger, a hot spring bath is situated right next to the river and he could take a bath and play in the river at the same time. He looked back on his childhood days with nostalgia.
Name: Youraya Honten
Address: 1434 Yude, Minamata, Kumamoto
Access (Car): 1 hour 36 min from the centre of Kumamoto city. 1 hour 30 min from the Kumamoto airport
Parking Lot: 4
Opening Hours: 09:30 - 19:00
Closing Days: Every Thursday
Price: JPY 200