An onsen in a natural cave where the water wells up from your feet! Oita Kabeyu Onsen Fukumotoya

Review of 壁湯天然洞窟温泉旅館 福元屋 | 大分県玖珠郡九重町町田62-1
壁湯天然洞窟温泉旅館 福元屋
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Onsen Sommelier Gucchi
Updated Sep 23, 2015

Fukumotoya is a lone standing onsen inn in Oita’s Kabeyu Onsen. It is famous for its wild natural cave hot springs bath which is also coed. It is also famous for its hot spring water that wells up from the bottom of the tub.

If you bathe in this slightly tepid water enough you will be warmed not just your whole body but your heart as well. A rare and happy find for any onsen lover

A secret onsen on route 387

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When driving on the narrow Oita highway or the Kokonoe IC to Route 387 down south to Oguni town, you can almost miss Kabeyu Onsen.

Fukumotoya is next to a river so it is below the route so if you aren’t careful you will pass it by. Look for the sign and view in the image. From here if you go down a narrow pass you will arrive at Fukumotoya.

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An inn protected by The Association to Protect Secret Onsen

Fukumotoya is an inn that is part of The Association To Protect Secret Onsen. It is very rustic and feels unique.

This inn was renovated in 2001 by the owner himself. There is no pomp or luster to this place but a warmth and obsession you can feel here that will put you at ease.

Most of the rooms are next to the river. And so, you feel as though you are deep in the mountains, and you forget that you are on a national route.

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This is the famous cave outdoor bath!

A short walk from the inn, there is the famous cave outdoor bath. It’s as though you are in the wild out here with all the boulders lining it.

The soft hot water is clear with no coloration, and the water springs up from the bottom of the bath. What’s amazing is that every minute 1200 liters of water flow up and out. And so, there is a continuous stream of fresh onsen water.

Because the water is about the same in temperature as human skin you can easily bathe for an hour here. When submerged for a long time your body and soul feel like they are melting into the earth.

The image is at night but the sunrise shining into and the quiet of the night both have their charms and it’s best to experience all different hours.

Also this is a coed bath but for the ladies this inn provides bathing wear. On top of that very close to the cave outdoor bath there is an indoor bath just for women so rest assured.

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Another 2 baths in the inn that are private

At Fukumotoya as you can see there is a private bath called “Kakuriguni no Yu”, and outside there is another called “Aradama no Yu”. Both are strictly for staying guests only. What’s great is that staying guests don’t have to pay for the onsen and there is no reservation so if it is open between the hours of 6am and 11pm you can bathe as much as you want whenever you want.

Also, Kakuriguni no Yu is heated so if you aren’t fond of tepid baths you can enjoy it here.

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What is the secret of this delicious food?!

Astonishingly the rice here is farmed by the owner. In addition to that the rice is actually cooked with hot spring water. Hence the rice here tastes amazing! The other food is good too but the rice will bring you to tears it’s so good.

For those that like to drink with their dinner at I ask that you take it easy and just savor the food on its own. Afterward you can drink all you want though.

By the way the image is of breakfast.

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Satisfied by just a visitor bath. Be extremely satisfied by staying a night!

At Kabeyu Onsen Fukumotoya, you can enjoy just the bath as a visitor it’s just that good. The cave bath, the coed outdoor bath, and the water flowing from beneath with fresh straight from the source hot spring water. Each aspect is top class.

Now if you stay a night, from the moment you check-in to the time you check-out you can do things at your own pace. And you get a fabulous dinner and breakfast. And it’s well priced. If you can’t be happy here I don’t know where you can be.

Even in Oita the onsen prefecture, Kabeyu Onsen is head and shoulders above the rest. It is a place that you can’t help but revisit.

I am told that when there is a storm you can bath in the cave and have a “storm bath”.

*Kabeyu Onsen Fukumotoya [Address] Oaza Machida 6-2-1, Kusugun, Kokonoemachi, Oita Prefecture [Tel] 0973-78-8754 [Visitor bath fee] adults 300 JPY, children 150 JPY [Visitor bath time] 9am to 9pm

Onsen Data [Water type] basic [Method] raw hot spring water continuously flowing (no added heat, water, or antibiotics) *only the Kakurkuni no Yu is heated [PH] 7.9 (weak alkaline) [Temp] 36.6C

This article was originally published on Sep 23, 2015

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壁湯天然洞窟温泉旅館 福元屋
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