Myoban Onsen 明礬温泉
The hidden side of Beppu
In the most famous hot spring town on Kyushu onsen are bountiful, yet each of them is unique. Far from the bustle of the city center sento, the neighborhood of Myoban is a haven for bathers.
Northwest of Beppu, in the middle of a forest, the steep slopes of the mountains bordering Beppu were not originally designated areas to accommodate fifteen baths and ten ryokan (traditional inns). Nevertheless, there they are.
On a steep main road, you will find few cars, but several onsen on either side. The location of the place gives an unparalleled view of Myoban bridge, Beppu itself, and the sea - it is also possible to admire the view from many of the bath houses as you bathe.
Besides the traditional ryokan, you will find many Yunohana-goya, straw huts, for the manufacturing of sulfur-based bath salts
In addition to its relaxing atmosphere, Myoban has several rather atypical onsen :
- Onsen Hoyoland
Onsen Hoyoland is one of the only institutions in Beppu to offer an outdoor mud bath, as well as it being mixed sex. The mud, enriched with sulfur, is known for its soothing properties for the skin. The bath house also offers other indoor and outdoor baths, and a sauna with sulphurous vapours.
- Myoban Yunosato
A little further up, after Jizoyumae bus stop, stands the imposing Yunosato where you can find particularly milky baths. Bathers will also a nice view of the surrounding hills. You can even hire private baths, by the hour, with your family or partner. The property produces its own bath salts in a Yunohana-goya, and even sell some on-site.
On your way down, you will find Okamotoya restaurant which serves eggs cooked in water from the hot springs, known as onsen tamago, and other steamed specialties, including the famous jigoku-mushi purin, small "hell-steamed" custard pudding.
- Okamotoya Ryokan
This is one of the eight best establishments in Beppu, and also one of the most expensive. Fortunately, it is possible to visit only for a day in order to soak in one of their turquoise blue water baths, or Umi Jigoku, known as one of eight "hells" of the city.