NAVITIME Travel - Japan Travel Guides, Transit Search and Itinerary Planner

Tsuetate Onsen Town

  • Tucked deep inside a steaming valley crevasse in the far north of Kumamoto sits Tsuetate, an onsen town and resort with a story that stretches back to the 1800s. As you wander through the town you can see its history etched into every rocky surface and aging walls of houses that still stand proud and tall towering over the flowing river that cuts through the town center. Locally known as ‘Kyushu’s inner sanctum’ this site was once the home to a bustling luxury travel economy, where the wealthy came to relax and immerse themselves in the Tsuetate hot springs, and culturally rich atmosphere. Like a city frozen in time, it’s still today an excellent place to visit and an ideal antidote to the fast paced energy of city life.

    Tsuetate Onsen Town

    Tsuetate Onsen Town

    When you arrive in the town, the first thing you’ll notice is the billowing onsen steam that permeates through the ground’s surface and rustic buildings. The town is home to a variety of baths filled with water fresh from the hot spring. At its source it’s said the water is literally over 100 degrees, but don’t worry, by the time it’s bath ready it has been cooled to a more habitable temperature. Indoor and outdoor baths, public baths frequented by locals, small foot baths, to private family baths, the options here are almost endless so if you’re staying for a while you’ll never run out of new options.

    Tsuetate Onsen Town

    Tsuetate Onsen Town

    One of the rare cooking experiences you can try your hand at here is vegetable steaming, an age-old local technique that utilizes the onsen’s unique cooking qualities. You can pick up local produce like sweet potatoes from the nearby road market, and head to the free to use public food steamers that sit alongside the riverside carpark. As you wait for your vegetables cook, be sure to take your time to follow the river and admire the stunning natural beauty of your surroundings.

    Tsuetate Onsen Town

    Tsuetate Onsen Town

    Wander through the town’s backstreets (known as sedoyas) and you’ll find walls dotted with picture frames featuring photos of the area during the Showa-era. Like an outdoor gallery, these photos reflect the time when the town was at its peak. A weaving maze like connecting of rickety backstreets, some covered, some of these sedoyas will guide you on a journey through abandoned hotels, small ryokans and bathhouses.

    Tsuetate Onsen Town

    Tsuetate Onsen Town

    The Maple Bridge is one of Tsuetate’s most famous sights. Stretching over the Shinagawa River, the bridge is covered in wooden good luck charms, making it a photographer’s delight. To get a different perspective on the town you can also hop aboard the pleasure boat, which runs down the Matsubara Dam, it’s particularly beautiful in spring when the mountainsides are dotted with soft pink cherry blossoms and in autumn when the trees transform into fiery shades of red and gold.

    Tsuetate Onsen Town

    Tsuetate Onsen Town

    Once a bustling cultural hub, the town is still home to a number of popular events and festivals including the fire festival in January, the carp streamer festival in April and May and the Shikado Onsen performing arts festival in late May. The best way to get to Tsuetate Onsen from Kumamoto by car is to take the National Highway No. 57 and No.212. The trip takes a little over an hour and a half. By public transport, it’s a little more difficult, the most direct way is to depart from Aso Station and catch a bus heading to Shinano Onsen.

    Tsuetate Onsen
    Address
    Kumamoto Pref. Asogunogunimachi Shimojou A stand
    Phone
    0967480506
    Kumamoto
    Address
    Kumamoto Pref. Kumamotoshinishiku Kasuga 3-chome
    Phone
    Aso(Kumamoto)
    Address
    Aso, Kumamoto Prefecture
    Phone
  • Facebookでシェアする
  • Twitterでシェアする

Recommended new articles