Trip to BEPPU KANNAWA (別府鉄輪) & YUFUIN (湯布院), west mecca for TOUJI (湯治 / hot spring cure)

TOUJI (湯治) is a Japanese traditional culture to cure mental & physical diseases and injuries. It is a globally recognized Japanese historical and traditional medical treatment. It is not only for physical injuries and diseases, but also it arouses the pure relaxation in your body and mind. Are there any other detoxifications just to bathe in hot spring?

TOUJI YADO (湯治宿 / hotels specifically for hot spring cure), different from normal ONSEN hotels and ONSEN RYOKANs, dare not give excessive service as it is the place for curing body and mind only. Usually, people spend 7 days at TOUJI YADO to heal the fatigue by bathing ONSEN. In the past, people used to stay much longer such that farmers stayed 1 month to heal the fatigue from their farmwork, those who got injuries spent a half year to cure it, and those who suffered from disease spent a year to cure it. Since most of the guests at TOUJI YADO used to stay very long, TOUJI YADO had cost cheap with less service, and people used to stay just like live there. The rooms were just to sleep, and separately there were public kitchen and bathroom where guests shared. It was just like “Social Apartment” at the present day.

As Western medicine has prospered, people already don’t need to cure injuries and diseases by the natural power of ONSEN at the present day. Needs of modern society expect more in advanced medicines to cure diseases more quickly and easily, rather than the medical effect of ONSEN which only gives good effect very slowly. This is why the traditional TOUJI and TOUJI YADO have been gradually dying out. A lot of TOUJI YADO in a lot of ONSEN places across Japan have closed their operations or shifted to modern typed ONSEN hotels and ONSEN RYOKANs.

However, there are still such traditional TOUJI style ONSEN places remain in Japan. Some TOUJI YADO keep surviving as they used to be, and some fine-tuned to match modern society. The representing places for TOUJI are NARUKO ONSEN KYO (鳴子温泉郷) and HIJIORI ONSEN (肘折温泉) in East Japan, and BEPPU KANNAWA ONSEN (別府鉄輪温泉) in West Japan.

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This time, I visited BEPPU KANNAWA ONSEN (別府鉄輪温泉) and YUFUIN (湯布院), which is called west mecca for TOUJI. As usual, the style of my trip was “Nomad-style” for 5 nights 6 days as I wanted to try as many ONSEN as possible. This time, I don’t write day by day, but write by theme or spots.

  1. Overnight ferry trip from OSAKA to BEPPU: Overnight ferry trip from OSAKA to BEPPU
  2. Drive from BEPPU to YUFUIN with viewing beautiful autumn leaves: Autumn drive from BEPPU to YUFUIN
  3. “KAMENOI BESSO (亀の井別荘)”, a super luxury ONSEN hotel with tradition and innovation
  4. Fantastic gourmet in BEPPU and YUFUIN
  5. KANNAWA ONSEN town where steam of ONSEN is endlessly rising
  6. “TOUJI YANAGIYA”, a representative of “modern TOUJI”
  7. Eco, fun, and healthy. Variety of steamed cuisines by natural ONSEN steam
  8. “RYOKAN KIRAKU (旅館喜楽)”, a traditional TOUJI YADO
  9. “YUYA EBISU (湯屋ゑびす)”, a private ONSEN

Now, let’s start nomad-style TOUJI trip in west mecca of TOUJI!!

Next article: Overnight ferry trip from OSAKA to BEPPU

Related article:

What is TOUJI?

What is ONSEN? – Part 1

What is ONSEN? – Part 2

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