Hyotan Hot Spring
Hyotan Onsen was started out of the consideration of its founder, Junsaku, for his wife Matsu. In 1922, the founder discovered the hot spring here and launched Hyotan Onsen to heal his wife’s rheumatism. The name of the spa, which means “gourd,” as well as the gourds used in the bathhouse derive from Junsaku’s appreciation for Hideyoshi Toyotomi, whose banner carried the emblem of bottle gourds. Hyotan Onsen offers a variety of baths, including gourd baths, sand baths, and steam baths, but on top of that, the spring water itself has a moisturizing effect due to its concentration of sodium metasilicate, a natural moisturizing substance, that is 10 times higher than the standard amount specified in Japan’s Hot Springs Law.
The most popular of Hyotan’s features is its Waterfall Bath, of which there is one in both the men’s baths and the women’s baths, and which showers the bather with a firm stream of hot water. The scene of the hot water flowing down like a waterfall from taps at a height of 3 meters is itself picturesque.
The scale of this hot springs is said to be the largest in the east. Hyotan also offers fourteen complete reserved family baths in different styles and tastes, available for use by up to three adults for one hour at a rate of ¥2,150 (current as of December 2018).
The sand baths are an appealing spot where bathers dress in yukata (Japanese bathing kimono) and can enjoy mixed-sex sand-bathing as couples or among friends.
Unique among Japan’s onsens, Hyotan has earned a three-star rating from the Michelin Travel Guide.
Address159-2 Kannawa, Beppu, Oita Prefecture