Jigoku Meguri? Just What Is This Cluster Of Onsen?
Even within hot springs (onsen), there are many different types. When you come to Japan, why not try some of the many available for yourself? The town of Beppu is number one in Ja…
Shibaseki Onsen is a very unique onsen, located at the base of a mountain next to a river, with no other hot springs around. The only nearby things are the locals` houses and the bubbling from the onsen. Although it is far from the city center, plenty of both tourists and locals come every day. But why does everyone love this onsen so much? Let’s find out.
The local people of Beppu regularly use onsen called “kyodo yu (local onsen)”, which is a simple hot spring. It is simply a bathtub in a small building, with no extra amenities or furnishings. This style of onsen is usually quite cheap, so it can be used every day. However, Shibaseki Onsen manages to maintain this cheap price, while having a wider range of facilities.
The building was renewed about 20 years ago, but they maintained the beauty of the wood and stone. There are many types of baths within, such as a private baths, outdoor baths, indoor baths, and steam baths. Additionally, there are also restrooms available.
You can also take the chance to buy one of the drinks or ice cream that is on sale, and sit in the resting room while chatting with the locals. The people of Beppu are very friendly and easy to talk to.
There are three levels of onsen temperature, making this bath open to both beginners and frequent onsen goers. It is loved by both locals and tourists because you can get so many options for just 200 yen.
As we mentioned earlier, there are many benefits to Shibaseki Onsen, but the most prominent is the ability to relax both mind and body during your visit.
The wide, mountain hut-style windows and high ceiling create a very calm space. You can also choose the temperature of water you like between hot and lukewarm to ensure your total relaxation.
When you go outside, there is a small hut, and if you open the door, you will be surprised to find that it is full of steam.
We definitely recommend that you try this “mushi-yu”, or “steam bath.” The floor is made from bamboo, and the hot spring flows under it. Dense steam and the sound of the hot spring fill the hut and echo around you, creating an exhilarating contrast to the bright outside world once you finally leave.
There is also a family bath at Shibaseki Onsen. This relatively large bath is easy to relax in, especially by opening the large window, which gives the feeling of bathing in an outdoor bath.
Finally, what we most recommend at Shibaseki Onsen is the outdoor bath. Because there is no roof, the bath feels surrounded by the sky and mountains, and you can spend as much time in the bath as possible due to the lower temperature of the water.
Sitting next to the quiet river while surrounded by mountain trees and feeling the cold air on your skin as you listen to the birds sing is one of the most relaxing moments at an onsen. If you put your head on the edge of the bathtub and look up at the sky, take a deep breath and use this opportunity to let your mind and body reset, far away from the bustle of the city.
The Shibaseki Onsen you see now may seem new, but its history is quite old. According to the records, in the years 895 and 1044 the Emperor came to this onsen for treatment of a disease. There is also history in the name Shibaseki itself. “Shiba” means grass and “seki” means stone, and it seems that fossils were found in the stone here during the Edo period, and the name comes from that time. You can still see the fossil that was found at the reception desk.
If you look closely at the river that flows next to the onsen, there is a place where the embankment in recessed right next to the river. This is the location of the old Takinode, a bathing method where hot waterfalls fall onto your back or waist. It is said that this is no longer used due to flooding of the river.
Jigoku Meguri is probably the most famous attraction for people coming to Beppu for the first time. Shibaseki Onsen is only a fifteen-minute walk from this famous hell spring, called the “Chinoike Jigoku.” How relaxing will it be to soak in the onsen after a long day of sightseeing?
FEE：300 YEN, Family bath 2,000 YEN for 60 min.(up to 4 people)
How to get to Beppu, where Shibaseki Onsen is located
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No matter who you are, Beppu has just the place for you!