Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Beppu Onsen Hoyo Land

A visit to the onsen is a must if there is any trip to Japan. Some foreigners may be uncomfortable with onsen experience as one is required to get naked with strangers. And sometimes with japanese staring and giggling at the sight of a naked gaijin (foreigner) it can be rather embarassing.
Beppu Onsen Hoyo Land - This is one of the greatest onsen I have ever visited so far in Japan. We had an exotic mineral mud bath.
I didn't take my camera (left it inside the locker) because photography was not allowed inside the onsen compound.
However, after the bath, I had a quick friendly chat with the frontdesk operator. I asked for brochures so that at least I could scan some pictures for blog use. So nice of her, she allowed us to take a few pictures. These men (bottom picture) were all excited and ready to bare in front of our cameras (my friend told them we're reporters from Malaysia).
Most onsens are gender-segregated and not all of them have English written on the door and to save yourself a few blushes, one is recommended to learn the japanese character for men (otoko, 男) and woman (onna, 女). Hoyo Land has a mix-gender outdoor bath (a side-by-side bamboo split-mix, one marked for men and another marked for women). This makes bath time alot more fun, with men occasionally crossing to the other side.
Another unique thing you can do in Beppu is take a bath in hot sand where you get buried up to your neck.
The Myoban Hot Spring area is famous for the straw-thatched roof of Yu-no-Hanagoya (literally translates as hot spring flower hut).
Yu-no-Hanagoya started producing natural bath ingredients over 250 years ago and continues to do so today.
Inside the straw-thatched hut - the mineral rock collector.
A closer look at the alum supplies, used as natural bathing supplements.
The sulphuric air to provide a therapeutic atmosphere (although it smelled like some stinky fart).
View of the 100 m high Beppu Tower from the hotel.
Apart from the nine burning hells and the famous onsens, Beppu is also known as the Las Vegas of Japan, a reference more to its extensive sex industry than gambling. We were surprised.

Beppu - this place is a must visit.


Primrose said...

Oh my, don't think I'll be comfortable but I know mineral mud baths are good for skin as long as you're not allergic to sulphur. Are the eggs for dipping into the water in the bath? Eek! Wouldn't the egg absorb the "poison"?

Oh, by the way, I made spaghetti. Come, come, I belanja. :)

zbjernak said...

seriously in malaysia i wont
but if i m in japan...then why not
coz when u r abroad...u hav to follow the way people do things

Anonymous said...

Haha, I saw the uncensored pictures of the onsen.

Acrix said...

Waoh! MIx gender is cool! Galz + hotbath = nose-bleed inducing factor~ Asahi beer dominates Beppu ka? From tower to lantern oso got their sign~

richy said...

Very nice photoblog that I just discovered. I like this documentary about this onsen place, which I did not know even if I feel I travel to most of the places in Japan.
Gambatte ne

Patrick Leong said...

primrose : sulphur baths are considered hot spring medicines. they contain radioactive elements and sulphur (a combination of volcanic ash) that are believed to cure rheumatism, skin, liver, spleen and bowel complaints, as well as maintain youthfulness and anti-aging. there was actually a brief introduction of the onsen place - we were told not to soak in one particular mud pool for more than 10 mins (probably because of high ratio of sulphur content and strong effect on the body). sulphur dioxide has been shown as a frequent trigger for asthma attack. like you say, such patients are advised not to take sulphur mud bath.

zbjernak : i was too shy to try onsen (and also public bath) during my first half year in japan. now i am quite obsessed with it (body healing).

ai ling : i should have taken more. i mean other areas of the hoyo land onsen.

acrix : well before you get too excited about it, female onsen visitors wear towels, although some old folks don't (i heard from a friend of mine). we did not see any female visitors that day. i don't think there is any connection between asahi beer and beppu. perhaps just some advertisements.

richy : thanks. i saw that you have a great and interesting blog too. i like your photography work ! mata yoroshiku.

Eddie said...

i think your description of onsen is a bit exaggerating. Public nudity is everywhere in the world, (except in Muslim countries i guess). ]
Ask Ai Ling to lecture you about Turky bath.
Btw, Japanese never stare and giggle at me in the onsen
.. they did that to you..
..or the other way round ???

Anonymous said...

To clarify things abit,

Although the turkish bath we went allowed full nudity, it is not a normal custom for turkish people to go fully nude in the baths. They usually wear their swimming suits.


Eddie said...

what ? in swimming suit?
gosh! how can u wear that latex thing in hot water?

Lrong said...

Very nice writeout from our 'Reporters from Msia'... Visited Beppu long time ago and your pics bring back good memories of the hells... and the heavenly 'farty' smells...

Patrick Leong said...

eddie, ai ling : in old times (during the meiji era) japanese people did not have a bath tub at home and they usually took bath in communal bath houses. therefore most of the japanese men and women were accustomed to seeing nudity. although public baths are common in other parts of the world but i think are not readily found in the american culture (in the states, i guess such bathhouses often end up with some sex scenes). although the europeans attitude now are more relaxed towards mixed sex nudity in spas and on beaches, but such practices are in fact confined to only certain areas. it does take some time getting accustomed to it, yea, although nudity in this context, is not so much a big issue.

lrong : kekekeke. i like to see beppu again in the future. i know there are some good onsens in shikoku too.

Eddie said...

so it must be ur writing that makes onsen nudity such a scaring thing..