Before going abroad to Japan my mother told me that I should be like a “sponge” and absorb everything I can from the culture. She said that it would be great to stick with the locals because they are the ones who know their city from all angles and it would make my experience way richer. Well, I now know I may return back home and say to my mom that I did.
Teruyu Onsen is located uphill Beppu near the Haruki River. This onsen is managed by a beautiful and nice lady called Takeko-san and her husband. On my way here, the first thing I noticed was the steam going up to the sky, and then I saw this warm looking white building. Once I got closer to the building, I noticed this demon looking statue hanged near the windows, which really surprised me because I’ve never seen this in any other onsen. Later on, I asked Takeko-san if the statue holds any meaning. She told me the statue was donated by someone because they are called “onigawara” or “ogre tiles.” They are known for guarding homeowners and town residents. I found this “onigawara” really unique and interesting. It is definitely something you will remember.
The entrance is located on the side of the building, and once you open the wooden door you’ll encounter the reception. The fee is 200 yen and you can also purchase 3 steamed eggs for 100 yen. You can find the collection stamp for JR or SPAPORT on the counter. It is important that you bring a towel, body soap and shampoo with you because it is not provided by the onsen. The rooms are separated for men and women and they are located on the sides of the lobby.
Once you enter the bathroom you will bump into the locker stands. They are not locked, but you can see your things from the bath. The room is beautifully made of wood. It’s not that spacious, but it is really warm and cozy. Do keep in mind that it is mostly for 3 to 7 persons.
This onsen is mostly frequented by locals and once you are there you can see that everyone knows each other. I was a bit nervous in the beginning, but they are extremely nice! Even though there is a language barrier, they try to help you in any way they can. I really loved the welcome feeling I had from the local ladies!
One thing I notice is that there is no sprinkler. I was confused until one of the local ladies explained to me that you need to take water from the bath and “shabu shabu” which apparently means to pour water on yourself. You can find the containers just in front of the lockers for you to use them freely. I was extremely grateful to the lady because even though we had the language barrier, she tried to explain to me by pointing and miming.
The faucet is found on the side of the bathtub, and you may adjust the temperature to your liking if you find the water too hot. In Teruyu Onsen, the underground hot water is produced by a natural mixture of groundwater and steam. The water shading changes upon the climate conditions. It may be of blue color and can contain a lot of saved minerals. The local ladies said that bathing in this onsen can help as treatment for neuralgia and is really good for the skin. You can definitely see the change after you finish your bath!
Thanks to this amazing experience, I got the opportunity to interact with the locals and learn a lot from the Japanese culture! I think what makes this place really unique is that it is an extremely local onsen. So if you are looking to soaking into Japanese culture I really suggest this onsen! I am sure you would love the welcoming feeling of the locals and the amazing atmosphere of the hot spring.
OPEN: 9:00 to 21:00
FEE: 200 yen
TATTOO: Not Allowed