For most of the tourist, hot spring baths are a must in their Japan tour itineraries. There are so many hot springs in Japan. Besides the famous three hot springs – Kusatsu Onsen, Gero Span, and Arima Onsen, today I will introduce you to a not so popular hot spring in Kyushu – Sujiyu Onsen.
There is a secret hot bath in Sujiyu Onsen, though it is similar with Beppu Jigoku and Yufuin which is located in the Oita Prefecture, but it is not very well known. Most of the people who went to Sujiyu Onsen are the locals and a small minority encompasses foreigners. It is not very popular because it lacks in transport facilities and attractions, but due to this reason, it is a little more quiet and peaceful than other hot springs, it is a good choice if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Sujiyu hot spring area is not very big, it is not impossible to reach by public transport. I took JR to the Bungo-Nakamura Station, and then took a bus to the Sujiyu Onsen Station. When you get off, you will see a number of signboards to guide you to the onsen in that area.
The streets are not as busy as others, besides hot spring hotels, there is only one other small local shop which sells the local products, seasonings (Oita Prefacture is rich with grapefruits and lime), cup noodles, snacks, and daily necessities, it is just like an ordinary convenience store.
This area is full of hot spring hotels and they do provide food, hence, there are no restaurants available (this shouldn’t be a problem to those who comes here for hot springs). Let me show you around!
There are also public baths in this area, two indoors and one outdoor. First, let me introduce you to this public bath which you can find in the advertisements. Before you enter, purchase the tokens from the vending machines, one token cost about 300 Yen, you can directly go to the male / female bath, it is entirely self service.
(Photos are not allowed in the bath, these are the pictures from official website)
Sujiyu Onsen is very effective with removing muscle fatigue; there is a small waterfall in the bath that can provide you a good massage, take a dip and shower, say good bye to all your tiredness!
Another indoor public bath which is known as 藥師湯 (Herbal Bath) ，and 露天風呂 (Outdoor hot spring) rotates between male and female bath, hence you have to make sure you go to the right bath.
This is an outdoor bath; it gives you a unique feeling. It is outdoor, hence there is always leaves in the bath, make sure that you are okay with it before you go in!
There are a lot of mountains in the Oita Prefecture, hence it is rich with mountain spring. You will find many九重の名水 in many hot springs. It is the water which flows from the mountains and it is also rich with minerals, it is good for health. I have tried it before, it was very refreshing, and some of my colleagues brought a big bottle to fill it with water, she said it energized her (smile).
Besides drinkable spring water, due to its high number of hot springs, it creates many free foot baths too. There was one night we went for the foot bath after going for a firefly viewing, it was very relaxing!
I had stayed here for four months and only met Hong Kies three times, others were the local Japanese, I can say that this is a very local Japanese hot spring favourite. I will introduce more attractions in this area in the future!