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Renewed Old "Banpeiyu" Onsen / Japanese Hot Springs

The origin of "Banpeiyu" dates back to about 600 years ago in the Period of North and South Dynasties in history. The old document said that a deity in Rokuro’s dream suggested where should be dug for finding Onsen. Rokuro was a son of the defeated soldier, Ukon Hamada who was fleeing the enemy.
The son was trying to find Onsen to cure his father’s sword wound caused by the civil war. He followed what the deity said and could find a hot spring there. It is said to be the origin of Hinagu Onsen in 1409. Although, nobody knows real story, at least “Hinagu” Onsen has existed since 600 years ago.

Please enjoy the YouTube Video below regarding Japan Travel to Rural Japan by bicycle.

The Onsen used to be called “Gozenyu” or my lord’s Onsen, because during the Edo Period, it was owned by the Hosokawa clan, a feudal lord of the Higo-han (Old Kumamoto), as a private Onsen.

Edo-style Banpeiyu Bathhouse.
Edo-style Banpeiyu Bathhouse.

The Onsen was specifically divided into three different areas. “Gozen-motoyu” or my lord’s Onsen was reserved only for the Hosokawa family. The next one called “Otsugi-no-yu” or the second bath was for samurai warriors and the last one “Hira-yu” or the public bath for citizens.

2nd Floor, Banpeiyu Grand Bath and Outdoor Bath.
2nd Floor, Banpeiyu Grand Bath and Outdoor Bath.

The name was changed to “Hinagu-onsen-motoyu” after the Meiji Era, and then changed again to “Hinagu Onsen Center” in Showa 42 (1967).

"Ashiyu" foot bathing and "Banpeiyu" citrus.
("Ashiyu" foot bathing and "Banpeiyu" citrus.)

The bathhouse was totally renewed on June 21, last year and newly named as “Banpeiyu” derived from the famous local Banpeiyu (晩白柚) citrus. The new 3-storys bathhouse was imaged after the old “Gozen-motoyu” style. “Motoyu” or the grand public bath is laid out on the 1st floor, and “Banpeiyu” or grand outdoor bath and sauna is on the 2nd floor, “Kazokuyu” or Japanese rooms with private bath are on the 3rd floor. Among new facilities, “Kazokuyu” is the most attractive one. As you pay 1,000-1,500 yen additionally, you can make yourself more comfortable without any disturbance from other bathers.

2nd Floor, "Sakura" Japanese room with bath.
3rd Floor, "Sakura" Japanese room with bath.

There is an “Ashiyu” or public Onsen for feet bathing at the front entrance area. You don’t hesitate to take it when you visit there, because it is free of charge.

"Wasamon" restaurant Japanese dish and a variety of <br /><br /><br /><br /><br />local products in the shop.
"Wasamon" restaurant Japanese dish and a variety of local products in the shop.

A wide variety of local products, such as fresh vegetable, soy sauce, soy bean past, and local handicrafts, are available at the shop on the 1st floor.

“Wasamon” Restaurant on the 2nd floor uses local products, including fresh seafood purchased directly from the local fish market, as their ingredients.

View Banpeiyu in a larger map

By T.S. on Apr 15, 2010
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Author:T. SATOH