Beautiful Wooden Onsen: Nogami Honkan
I have been visiting different onsen in the time I’ve lived here in Beppu, and I must say that each and every single one of them is extremely unique. But what I’ve noticed is that…
I’m Hinata, a female college student living in Beppu! Recently, the cold has had me continuously shrugging my shoulders, so having a stiff neck has been rough! Until now, I’ve introduced several hot springs on this site, but I forgot to introduce the one I’ve been doing to every day! That being said, today I’ll be introducing my onsen – a hot spring you could probably liken to the bath in my own home at this point.
Today’s introduction is on Tano-yu. It’s a hot spring managed by the city, a two-minute walk from my house and only 200 yen. I go pretty much every day now, but that wasn’t the case in the past. Actually, I came to Beppu four years ago. At that time, I did like hot springs, but – compared to now – I wasn’t someone who loved it. When I was studying abroad in Australia, I embraced the “shower life,” but the longing for a bath became intolerable. While in Beppu, I didn’t know how happy I was because I was always so close… Being separated from it for the first time made me realize how important it was to me. That’s why, when I returned to Beppu, I started going to hot springs way more. It was like built-up magma exploding.
And, at first, I felt that Beppu was a crazy place. I say that because there are over 2000 sources of hot springs, and out of the ten types of hot springs that exist in all of Japan, seven of them are found in just one town! Moreover, there are hot springs that you can enter for 60 yen or even free when you living in Beppu! I thought I had to take advantage of this, and started going every day.
Like I said earlier, Beppu has a ton of hot springs so there’s a variety to go to, but going to a different one every day is hard… That’s why the bath similar to the one in my own house that I use daily is Tano-yu. Of course, the number one reason for this is that it’s near my house. Even with dull loungewear and no make up, I feel unconcerned and don’t even feel that familiar chilliness after bathing. But there’s another closely related reason why I go to Tano-yu every day.
First is the price! Tano-yu is a hot spring under municipal management that you can enter for just 100 yen. However, if by chance you have an address in Beppu, you can buy a book of tickets which allow entry at 65 yen!
Also, hot spring quality! Also previously mentioned, there are various hot springs qualities in Beppu. It is very effective in disinfection, maintaining humidity, and aids in the removal of things such as sebum and old keratin. There are hot springs that aid in curing medical conditions through bathing, but going to these special hot springs daily could be too strong. Meanwhile, Tano-yu is what’s known as a simple thermal hot spring meaning, no matter the number, it’s perfectly fine to enter everyday because it’s a weak type of hot spring.
The final reason is interactions with people. In Tano-yu, at a specific time every day, there’s a familiar lineup. So every time you go, there’ll be someone you know. However, we didn’t bother one another much, just greetings and having mindless conversations saying things like “It’s cold today.” That sense of distance perfectly set the mood.
Recently, the front attendant started remembering me, telling me “Good night, Hinata!” For me, someone living on my own, I was very happy interacting with a warm person. I actually wanted to take a picture with her but she told me, “If your camera breaks from taking an ugly photograph, what are you going to do?” So that’s why I only have a picture of the attendant’s booth.
“We understand Hinata likes hot springs, but is it really worth it to leave your house to go every day? Is showering not good?” Some people may be wondering about something like this. We understand! Showers are great too! They’re faster, using them is better in the summer because it’s cool, and you can let go and do karaoke to your favorite songs. For these reasons, showers feel so amazing! But, as expected, when you sink into a hot spring, it feels really good!
Warming the body daily and forming a habit of rejuvenation helps waste products leave the body, making the skin beautiful and improving the quality of your sleep! Additionally, the drying speed of a body coming out of a hot spring versus normal water is totally different! Undoubtedly, there are tons more theoretical effects going around, but if I were to mention them all in this article, it’d be way too long! So for those interested, try googling hot water immersion health effects. Oh! By the way, one more merit for going to a hot spring is that you don’t have to clean it like you do at home. That’s the most important.
Today, I introduced my onsen – Tano-yu – but the many people living in Beppu have their own “my onsen” just like I do. Before this, an elderly woman I met at a hot spring told me, “This hot spring has been here for 80 years since I was born.” It was a hot spring born the same time as she. In Beppu, hot springs are a part of the people’s lives and there are many of those who thus share their life with hot springs. Hot springs in and of itself is Beppu’s culture, and there is surely no place in Japan like this one. There’s no way to experience life with hot springs through mere travel, but you can definitely experience that livelihood’s ambience – unique to the people of Beppu. Take the hot spring diagnosis, find your preferred hot spring, and go meet Beppu’s people!
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No matter who you are, Beppu has just the place for you!