From the center of Beppu, Japan’s world-renowned hot spring town, it’s 20 minutes of being rocked by a bus. Just as I said, “This is Japan!” we came to a new road where stretched a tranquil, rural landscape. On a small hill along that road on the back of Mount Tsurumi is a gate set up by “Horita Onsen,” which we’ll be introducing today.
Horita Onsen is one of the eight hot spring representatives of Beppu. Its history dates back about 300 years, and from the earlier days of the Edo Period, it has been loved by visitors and Beppu citizens alike. Whether on appointed days or weekday lunch times, the joint parking lot is pretty much full. Its current popularity hasn’t changed from the past.
After handing over the fee to the elderly woman addressing you saying, ‘It’s 210 yen,’ you’ll put your shoes away in the shoe box. In the building, there’s a faint scent and its hygiene is maintained because of the renovation it underwent some years ago. Not only is it clean but its barrier-free accommodations are really good. You can see a glimpse of the their consideration for the elderly and disabled through the hand rails installed all over the building and even the toilet being suitable for ostomates. Anyone who comes can enjoy without discomfort. In other words, it’s right to say that it is a hot spring for all people.
What is Yunohana, the mysterious object that floats in the hot water?
If you continue to make your way down the hall to the dressing room, you’ll find a noren (short, split curtain usually in shop entrances or separating rooms in houses) before you. In this hot spring, the women and men’s baths switch places weekly so be careful! Once you pass the noren, there will be a wash basin on your right-hand side and a spacious dressing room on your left. The wash basin has a dryer provided and the dressing room is complete with handicap-exclusive and regular coin lockers. With preparations complete, it’s off to the bath!
When you open the door, the steam in the bathroom envelopes the body almost in welcoming. First, there’s an open air bath on the right when you enter. You’ll have to go to washing area first while suppressing that growing expectation.
After properly washing your body, it’s time to go to the back of the bath. Immediately, you’ll find yourself cautiously dipping your toes in the water. The water isn’t too hot or lukewarm but just right. I think it’s optimal for people who can’t really handle the hot water. When you scoop up the water, there’s a black, thread-like substance. This is a component of the hot spring called “Yunohana,” so rest easy!
Enjoying the Changing of Seasons in a Hot Bath
We’re off to the increasingly anticipated open air bath, the place that warms the body to the core. Similar to the previously introduced Shibaseki Onsen, it’s just 210 yen. What a luxury to be able to enjoy an open air bath at this price! Open the door and while being careful not to slip down the stone steps, head over to the bath! The stone arrangement surrounding the bath decorate the area, and you’re able to experience the differences depending on the season. November is especially recommended as autumn is at its most intense. While enjoying the leaves changing color and being submerged in the hot bath, it’s the perfect chance to get a taste of Japan’s charms.
Bath Overlooking Beppu Bay
It’s still too early to be satisfied! When you get out of the bath, go to the rest stop at the very front. Horita Onsen is located on a small hill and, from this rest stop, you can get a sweeping view of Beppu Bay. How about taking a break and drinking some milk while taking in the bay’s scenery? Because “Mugen no Sato Shunkashuto” is nearby, we suggest stretching your legs.
Business Hours: 6:30 ~ 22:30
Amenities: Bathing bucket, showers, coin lockers, dryer(¥30) / Parking space (30 stalls)
How to get to Beppu, where Horita Onsen is located
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