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“Minara Natural Onsen, RIRAKU”

Originally, Onsen hot spring is most desirable when it naturally flows out into the open air.
Famous hot spring resorts in the east-Japan, such as Izu and Hakone, are best known for such natural hot springs.
top image of Riraku

“Iyo-no-yu” (伊予の湯) of Dogo Onsen, or hot spring resorts in Ehime Prefecture boasts a long history. Ancient writings such as “Nihonshoki” (日本書紀) and “Iyokuni-fudoki” (伊予国風土記) indicate that first Emperor’s family used it to entertain guests. Iyo (伊予国) was an old province of Japan in the area, now called Ehime. Iyo bordered on Awa, Sanuki, and Tosa Provinces.
Prince Shotoku in Dogo set
(Arrival of Prince Shōtoku in Dogo and the epitaph of “Oka-no-yu”)

The name “Dogo” was inscribed in the epitaph of “Oka-no-yu” that is said to be built by Prince Shōtoku. Prince Shōtoku (聖徳太子574–622) was a regent and a politician of the Asuka period in Japan., , The name is also found in Waka-poetries in “Manyoshu” (万葉集), or the collection of 10,000 Japanese-poetry.

The old drawing “Dogoyu-soezu” in Tempo (1830-1843) or Koka (1844-1847) during Edo Period shows us that there were bathhouses named “Jussen-yu” and “Jyugomon-yu” for general citizens at the southern part of “Yojoyu”. Tokushima’s feudal lord, Hachisuka Narimasa, built V.I.P. quarters next to the “Ichi-no-yu” Onsen.
Kaminoyu in Dogo Onsen
(“Kami-no-yu(神の湯)” has established itself as the Mecca of indoor Onsen.)

Onsen in these old documents show and even in existing “Kami-no-yu(神の湯)” or “God’s Hot Water” has established itself as the Mecca of indoor Onsen.

 “Minara Natural Onsen, RIRAKU” is located in the town of Shigenobu, adjacent to Matsuyama City where a great Dogo Onsen exists. More than 17 Onsens facilities for day trippers were existed nearby. Matsuyama’s surrounding population is about 650,000. In 2003, over 1.3 million guests came to Dogo Onsen, and other 3 millions arrived in other areas. It could be said that there is a lot of first-class competitors in the market.

outdoor bath in Riraku
(Architect, Mr. Ebisawa challenged to build an outdoor Onsen facility)

Architect, Mr. Ebisawa challenged to build an outdoor Onsen facility as the core of the layout plan. It was an innovative bathing approach for the people of Iyo, because they were not familiar with outdoor bathing. The bath opens up into the outdoor, blending itself into nature with providing removable sliding partitions. In addition, outdoor baths are laid out farther as a part of landscape garden.

350 tons of rocks, mainly “Abura-ishi” or light or dark-brown colored shiny rocks were transferred from Hiroshima. Total volume of water is 220 tons, largest in the area.
private onsen set
(“Kazoku-buro” or a reserved private baths for ”Family Bathing”)

Ehime prefecture is the only one in Shikoku island which permits ”Family Bathing”, meaning a family is permitted to reserve a bathing room and enjoy taking bath together which is quite natural practice in Japan. “Kazoku-buro” or a reserved private baths for ”Family Bathing” were of course laid out and became very popular among young couples, family groups with children, old couples with grand sons, and young ladies.

General Information
Name:“Minara Natural Onsen, RIRAKU”
Address:1110 Minara, Toon city, Ehime,  791-0211 JAPAN
Business Hours11:00~23:00


Rate-table (Business hours: 10:00~24:00)


General rates

Quick bathers

(45 minutes)

Adult (over Junior-high students)



Senior (over 65 year-old)



Child (over 4 year-old)



Private room for Family Bathing



Additional charges

Standard room



Room A



Room B



Room C



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By T.S. on Sept 6, 2010
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tag : Japsnerse Hot Spring



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Author:T. SATOH