The 3rd day of my TOUJI trip, I was still in BEPPU.
BEPPU is the place where I wanted to stay much longer as it has too many attractive ONSEN and 3 days are not enough to fully enjoy it. Originally, 湯治 (TOUJI) was to stay at one place very long and cure physical and mental fatigue by the power of ONSEN. However, my nomad-style trip this time has been opposite and I have moved many ONSEN places one after another just like sports, and that might have made me rather physically tired. Having said that, since BEPPU has so many attractive ONSEN spots, I have tried visiting as many places as possible in limited days.
Sand bath in 亀川温泉 (KAMEGAWA ONSEN)
Very sunny day in this 3rd morning. After I finished breakfast, I walked along the coast. The essence of TOUJI trip is not only bathing in ONSEN, but walking around the nature and viewing the nice scenery also make your health better.
Actually, I’m very healthy, and I don’t have any diseases and injuries to cure, but it might be because I often bathe in ONSEN as a part of my life why I haven’t had any serious diseases. For me, bathing in ONSEN might be having myself at the gymnasium of mother nature.
Now, it’s time for me to dive into the mother nature. The place I visited is 別府海浜砂湯 (BEPPU KAIHIN SUNAYU) at 亀川温泉 (KAMEGAWA ONSEN). After 浜脇温泉 (HAMAWAKI ONSEN), 別府温泉 (BEPPU ONSEN), 鉄輪温泉 (KANNAWA ONSEN), and 明礬温泉 (MYOBAN ONSEN), this 亀川温泉 (KAMEGAWA ONSEN) is the 5th place among 別府八湯 (BEPPU HATTO / BEPPU 8 Springs). Surprisingly at this KAMEGAWA ONSEN, natural ONSEN which contains mineral of sea is springing out at the beach. The sand of the beach is warm and wet by ONSEN. This 別府海浜砂湯 (BEPPU KAIHIN SUNAYU) is the sand bath where you can fully enjoy the blessing of nature inside the nature.
While I was waiting, I was bathing in the foot bath with viewing the sea. It is hot today too, and might get some suntan.
Then, my turn has come. Once I finished the registration, I changed to 浴衣 (YUKATA) at the changing room. After that, I lay down on the sand on the beach with my YUKATA on. Then, an old lady (professional staff called 砂かけさん (SUNAKAKESAN)) started putting sand on me. The perfect weight and perfect pressure. She kept putting sand on me gradually with asking me if it’s not too heavy. It was really warm and relaxing.
Although the sand is put on to whole body except face, it was not stuffy at all, and it was a heaven for me as if I was surrounded by the warm bed made from sand.
The parasols are put over the face to avoid direct sunlight, and I kept laying down for 15 minutes. The staff kindly clicks pictures if you want. It is really relaxing, and I was almost falling asleep.
Since it is located right in front of the sea, the spring quality is chloride spring. This spring quality containing salt is the most common spring quality in Japan. Japan is an island country. This is the place where you can feel it with your whole body.
After 15 minutes, I sweated a lot and my YUKATA already got wet. It is like stone sauna and I worked up a good sweat. Coming out from the sand, I felt like my body became lighter. My body has become warm from the core, and felt like becoming more powerful.
I went back to the changing room to take shower and change clothes. Now let’s go to the next ONSEN!
観海寺温泉 (KANKAIJI ONSEN)
6th ONSEN among 別府八湯 (BEPPU HATTO / BEPPU 8 Springs) is 観海寺温泉 (KANKAIJI ONSEN).
I visited “美湯の宿 両築別邸 (BIYU NO YADO RYOCHIKU BETTEI)”.
The spring quality here is weak alkaline simple spring, and the entry fee is only 500 yen. Since 観海寺温泉 (KANKAIJI ONSEN) itself is located on a hill, you can enjoy viewing fine landscape of BEPPU Bay. Walking through the beautiful garden, I reached the outdoor bath. Fresh green maple leaves are swaying in the breeze and feel very relaxing.
I chose to bathe in 檜風呂 (HINOKI BURO / cypress bath). The wooden bathtub makes the spring smooth while stone bathtub makes it sharp. This is why I prefer the wooden bathtub more. In addition, this weak alkaline simple spring has the similar pH score with soap, so that your skin gets cleansed even without using soap. I spent a while in this relaxing outdoor cypress bath.
Learn more about the spring quality: What is ONSEN? – Part 1
堀田温泉 (HORITA ONSEN)
7th ONSEN among 別府八湯 (BEPPU HATTO / BEPPU 8 Springs) is 堀田温泉 (HORITA ONSEN).
I saw the picture of the outdoor bath of the one-day ONSEN facility, “夢幻の里 春夏秋冬 (MUGEN NO SATO SHUNKASHUTO)” before and I loved it at first sight. This time I came here to try it.
This facility doesn’t have lodging nor restaurants, and it only has outdoor bathes to simply enjoy bathing in ONSEN. There’s no indoor bath and it has only outdoor bathes so that you can enjoy feeling like directly connected to nature with bathing in outdoor bath. The entry fee is 700 yen for adult, 300 yen for kid, and kid under 3 years old are admitted free of charge.
Outdoor bathes are separated into “虹の湯 (NIJI NO YU)” for men and “夢幻の湯 (MUGEN NO YU)” for women. They also have 3 private outdoor bathes “蛍の湯 HOTARU NO YU)”, “月の湯 (TSUKI NO YU)”, and “滝の湯 (TAKI NO YU)”, and each of them is capable for 4 people. There’s no shower and faucet. It’s juts outdoor bath being there.
Now, I’ve finally reached here, the entrance surrounded by great nature. They are not just opening the outdoor bathes of nature to the public, but they are maintaining it really well.
It was May when I visited here. In May, there’s a traditional culture in Japan that 菖蒲 (SHOBU / Iris) is put in the bathwater to pray for good health. Here at this facility, iris is placed at 手水 (TEMIZU / place to wash your hands), and there’s a bamboo handrail at the outdoor corridor, and such a bit of nice twists and good taste hospitality are seen here and there in this facility.
ONSEN here is simple sulfur spring which has milky white color. The spring is also fresh and living. It changes its color and temperature accompanied with the breath of nature. It is how the nature goes. There’s the 湯守 (YUMORI), the general manager of ONSEN at every ONSEN hotel and facility, and he controls the temperature of spring all the time for us to bathe in comfortably. However, when I came to this facility fully surrounded by nature, I really felt that ONSEN is alive. I came to feel like respecting every drop of the spring generated from earth, land, and nature.
It is the happiest moment to bathe in natural ONSEN surrounded by nature like this. The human beings are powerless. We cannot do anything when we are naked. I wanted to hug this spring which made me notice it, but I couldn’t hug the spring and it was escaping from my arms. Right, it was me who was always hugged. ONSEN always hugs me, and makes me warm and feel good.
This place is really beautiful with milky white spring, fresh green maple leaves, and dark green old moss. I kept bathing in with viewing and feeling it. Since sulfur spring is a bit strong and advised to go in and out, but I didn’t want to leave and touched it with my hands and feet. I wanted to be here longer.
Once I was out from bath, I was really refreshed and felt like re-born. It was not only my body but my heart also became much lighter.
Next article: My nomad-style TOUJI trip to KYUSHU – DAY 4
Read article about this trip: My nomad-style TOUJI trip to KYUSHU
Read article about Day 1: My nomad-style TOUJI trip to KYUSHU – DAY 1
Read article about Day 2: My nomad-style TOUJI trip to KYUSHU – DAY 2