Feel the hot sand
Take a curious bath in black sand, in an old-fashioned atmosphere, within view of a large lake and a small volcano.
It is a traditional image of tourist guides: a row of heads protruding from black sand on Ibusuki Beach. Volcanoes in the region have given rise to a funny kind of thermal cure, called sunamushi which involves being buried under a few shovelfuls of sand naturally heated by underground volcanic waters.
For three centuries the name Ibusuki has been associated with these hot sand baths (50°C), and this small town deep in the Satsuma Peninsula owes much of its reputation to them. Sand that facilitates blood circulation and helps overcome joint and breathing problems, are highlighted in the tourist brochures. But beware: the experience is not recommended for pregnant women and people with heart problems.
A walk on the waterfront makes it easy to locate areas with hot sand, for example Sunamushi Onsen bathhouse on Sugirahama Beach (almost all establishments in the town offer them). But apart from this natural sauna, it must be said Ibusuki does not offer anything very exciting. The resort, which was once fashionable, has not aged well, the paint is peeling, and the average age of residents and visitors is easily close to 60 years old.
Having enjoying the mild climate (19°C annual average), and the local Sotetsu tsumabenichou (palm trees and tropical butterflies), you can enjoy the rest of the Satsula Peninsula by visiting Chiran (samurai houses, Kamikaze Museum), Lake Ikeda (30 min by bus) or Kaimondake Volcano (train to Yamakawa then bus - a pretty ascension taking 2hrs).