Do you know what a Kamaburo is? It is said that the locals of Ohara Yase in Kyoto’s Rakuhoku presented a Kamaburo to heal the wound of Prince Oama who took a stray arrow to the back during the Jinshin revolt. Resembling a wood fire oven this traditional Japanese sauna is still in use in this area even after 1300 years later.
Surrounded by the wildlife at the foot of Mt. Hiei, and close to Sanzen-in Temple, you will experience time move slower while you listen to babble of water.
A traditional look that has a straw festoon shimenawa above it
The Kamaburo is located at “Yase Kamaburo Onsen Furusato”. It is an inn of Kyoto style cuisine and folk art located on the old Oharakaido Highway next to the Takanogawa River.
Pictured above is the Kamaburo that is used to this day at Furusato. Above it is a shimenawa straw festoon. By having this it means that what is inside is a purified area. If you look at the history of the Kamaburo it makes sense right?
There are two types of sauna, dry (hot and low moisture) and moist (low temperature high moisture), Kamaburo is the latter. It is a sauna that anyone can enjoy lightheartedly. It is said to be good for nerve pain, rheumatism, hemorrhoids, stomach pains, and asthma, and relieving things like cold symptoms, hangovers, and shoulder cramps in one use.
Pass through the door to slip back in time to 1300 years ago
Crouching down and passing through the door you find yourself in a small space about 6 tatami mats in space. It is big enough for 4 people to lie down at a time. The gradual heat and the aroma of the straw mats really drive home the atmosphere of old traditions in this sauna!
Bath towels are laid down on the straw mats, and you use the ceramic or wood pillows that are kept outside the kiln.
When you lay down the heat from the ground penetrates your back comfortably. 10 to 15 minutes and you are drenched in sweat. After sweating head to the stone bath which has the wash bath to wash away all that sweat.
The ruins of Japan’s oldest Kamaburo on the grounds
Outside the guest rooms at Furusato is a small thatched roof and below it is a cultural site of the oldest known Kamaburo site.
The name of this area, Yase, is derived from Prince Oama taking an arrow to the back (Ya=arrow, Se=back which turned to Ya=the kanji for 8 and Se=the kanji for back). It is free to visit so take a look closely.
Furusato Gozen and Kamaburo is recommended as a set
For those that want to just lightly experience the Kamaburo we recommend the affordable plan during the Bento time of 11am and 3pm.
After exploring Ohara, sweat out your fatigue in the Kamaburo and the lunch in a guest room is just that much better. Pictured above is the Furusato Gozen, and there is a Mini Kaiseki which you can also order.
For those that just want the Kamaburo experience there is a day trip visitor bath available as well.
Have a luxurious time away from the bustling city for reasonably
To get to Furusato, take the Rakuhoku Ohara Kyoto bus from Kyoto station (#17 and #18 bus stops in front of Kyoto station) for 55 minutes, and get off at Furusato Mae stop and walk for 2 minutes. (By the way if you ride the bus for 5 more minutes you can get to Ohara)
The closest train station is Kokusai Kaikan Station on the Karasuma Line and it is a 10 minute taxi from there. Or take the Kurama Line Eizan Electric Railway to Yase-Hieizanguchi station and ride the taxi for 8 minutes.
Although nearby Ohara which is packed with people during tourist season, just a little distance away and it is unbelievably quiet here at Yasenosato. Furusato is the epitome of Yasenosato and has impressive seasonal scenic views.
Yase Kamaburo Onsen Furusato is run by an elderly couple.
When you step one foot inside the building you are hit with an atmosphere of nostalgia and it feels that time has stopped here. Many people become repeat customers because of the feeling that time doesn’t matter here and can relax comfortably.
Come here to relax in a kind atmosphere, stay the night if you want or just take a day trip here.
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