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Public Outdoor Bath ‘Sunafukiyu:Sunaba’

The public outdoor bath is one of the most famed places in Yubara Onsen. It is named ‘Sunafuki-yu’ because hot spring water gushes out with sand from the riverbed. Travel writer Fuyuto Noguchi ranked it as the grand champion among outdoor baths in western Japan. ‘Sunayu’ is under the control of local citizens and provided with free of charge. It is only a remaining hot spring facility in Yubara Onsen since the ancient times. Men and women are still bathing together at ‘Sunayu’, however strict rule of bathing manner is required since then.
(Instruction of bathing in ‘Sunayu:Suna-fuki-yu’)

From the outset, there were a quite number of natural outdoor baths here and there in Yubara Onsen. The ‘Sunayu’ is only remains of natural outdoor baths in the ancient Tumulus Period. Outdoor baths are gushing out by nature, and must not use artificial sanitary methods such as putting antiseptic into the hot spring, so that all bathers are strictly required to observe the instructions. Even people had poor hygienic knowledge in earlier stages of development, the hot spring could be kept clean under the instructions.


1. Cleanse your bottom before soak in; not front but back hip.
2. Soak in from the lower part of the bath where hot water runs out, and finish bathing at the upper part. If you start bathing from the lower part and move slowly to upper part, the most upstream is still clean and you can wash your face and even can drink hot spring water.
3. Bath in hot spring calmly and pray: for keeping clean and not disturb other bathers. And thanks to the predecessors and citizens who kept hot spring in good condition. Pray for good recovery when you are in get hot spring medical treatment, and thanks to your body if you are in good health.
4. Try keeping clean the hot spring. No dumping. Bring back your rubbish.


1. No eating and drinking
2. No bathing suit
3. No unreasonable behavior
4. Never allow thief
5. Mange your belongs on your responsibility

Natural outdoor bath ‘Sunayu’ is the sanctuary only for bather who obeys instructions since the ancient times. It is not open for all bathers. Of course, common sense in present times refuses some parts of the ancient origin instructions. It is outrageous especially for female bathers. The Yubara Onsen built another outdoor bath which has separated baths for both male and female bathers. A new ‘Shimo-yubara Onsen’ is outdoor bath run by house keepers, so if you hesitate bathing in ‘Sunayu’ it is rather recommendable. And also, chartered onsen is available in a few hotels and inns in Yubara Onsen. If you do not like to be disturbed from other bathers, why don’t you visit there and enjoy bathing quietly.

Drive up to the Yubara Dam along Asahigawa River

Drive up the street of Yubara Onsen after turn left your car at the entrance of the hot spring resorts from the route 313. You will see a huge fence of the Yubara Dam in front, but you can’t drive farther before the suspension bridge on Ashikawa River. You stop and park your car in a large parking lot on the shore along the river.

‘Yumoto Onsen-kan; Fureai Koryu Center’

There is a public onsen ‘Yumoto Onsen-kan; Fureai Koryu Center’at the lower reaches of the river, and also original sauce well of hot spring providing to Yubara hot spring resorts. In front of the public onsen, Yakushi-do building of Onsen Temple in which has ‘Insenjo’ or drink corner of hot spring water. You can enjoy drinking clear and mild taste water in good quality.
Business Hours10:00-23:00
Entrance fees 
Adult600 yen
Child300 yen

‘Sunayu’ is something like a  nudist beach

You have to walk along the river to ‘Sunayu’ on the pedestrian path up to the Yubara Dam. Meanwhile, you will see a broad view of famous outdoor public bath ‘Sunayu’ farther in front. Of course, it is free of charge. It is quite similar to a nudist beach in western counties. In the busiest evening, there are usually more than 100 bathers of both sexes are sharing three of outdoor baths together. In the morning, on the contrary, there are rather fewer bathers, so you can enjoy taking bath calmly.

‘Sunayu’ is consisted of three outdoor baths; ‘Choju-no-yu’ is located in the mountain side under the roof, ‘Kodakara-no-yu’ is in upper stream, and ‘Bijin-no-yu’ is connected to that in lower stream. About 40 to 50 people can share in each bath. Dressing house is located in the mountain side in which separated for men and women, but don’t bring any valuables including car key because of rampant theft cases.

Public Outdoor Bath ‘Shimo-yubara:Himawari-kan’

Some female bathers hesitate to take bath at ‘Sunayu’ because of its condition of mixed bathing and openness. Additional public outdoor bath was built in 1998 which is separated for men and women. Each bathtub built with rocks is larger than ‘Sunayu’ however entrance fee is required. And even a special bath for pets is available. There is a parking lot, restaurant, and souvenir shop beside the outdoor bath.
Business Hours10:00-22:00
Entrance fees 
Adult420 yen
Child210 yen
Free Parking50 cars


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By TS on Aug 25, 2011
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tag : Cool Japan



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Author:T. SATOH