One of the First in Yamaguchi’s Yudaonsen! Yubettou-Nohara, a Bath for a Feudal Lord?

Review of Yubettou Nohara | Yuta-Onsen 3-7-8
onsen hot springs
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Yudaonsen is a historic onsen town near Yamaguchi. There were already onsen inns by the Muromachi Period. Yubettou-nohara managed the hot springs back then until recently. Nowadays there is a cooperative that manages it. Yudaonsen is famous for being found by an arctic fox, and in front of Yudaonsen Station is a monument of an arctic fox named Yuta who looks over the town protectively. Bathe in waters that were loved by a feudal lord.

The Mouri family crest! The onsen that a feudal lord bathed in

one of the first in yamaguchi’s yudaonsen! yubettou-nohara, a bath for a feudal lord? | the mouri family crest! the onsen that a feudal lord bathed in

The waters of Yudaonsen are simple alkaline hot springs that are good for your skin.

For centuries people have flocked to these waters for the healing properties against things like nerve pain, muscle aches, joint pains, shoulder knots, motor paralysis, joint stiffness, bruises, sprains, chronic digestive problems, hemorrhoids, sensitivity to cold, to rehabilitate after surgery, recover from fatigue and many others.

What is most important about this hot spring is the sheer amount of water that flows out which is about 2000 tons of water each day.

Hot springs are usually categorized as volcanic and non-volcanic, and most of the time non-volcanic ones only get to be about 42 degrees Celsius. While Yudaonsen is non-volcanic it reaches a whopping 72 degrees, and is the hottest in all of Yamaguchi Prefecture.

According to a study by the Yamaguchi University, the area around Yudaonsen is surrounded by water that flows down around an active fault, and falls through cracks in the igneous rock bed to get heated by a deep heat source then flows back up to the surface. This might be the secret behind the amazing amount of water that flows out.

Pictured above is Yubettou-nohara which is supposedly the first inn at Yudaonsen.

Yubettou is the name of a government role? …it was the manager of baths

one of the first in yamaguchi’s yudaonsen! yubettou-nohara, a bath for a feudal lord? | yubettou is the name of a government role? …it was the manager of baths

Yubettou is the title of a government position. Bettou normally means director general, and means they manage that position and oversee it as well.

Yubettou means this person would manage the inns and bath house to take taxes from them and is still used today as a trade name.

Back in the Muromachi Period when Yamaguchi was called Suo, Yudaonsen and the surrounding areas fell under the Feudal lord Ouchi’s governance. At the time the Nohara Family was managing the first onsen inn at the time. It flourished as the official bath of Ouchi and the name Honkagi and Urakagi were given to it around this time. In the Edo Period it came under the governance of the Ogi and Mouri families. Noharayu flourished again as the favorite medicinal bath of Mouri.

The Nohara family also keep a statue of the Buddha of Healing which was unearthed when the water started flowing at Yudaonsen (currently the real statue is kept at the Nohara family house and is shown every 20 years).

When you go to Yubettou-Nohara you will see the statue that has received part of the spirit from the original shown in the lobby. Since long ago it is said that if you pray at the statue before bathing good fortune will come to you.

Pictured above is a drawing of Yudaonsen Noharayu from long ago. In the bygone days it was customary to pray and make a wish at the statue before bathing.

A garden from the past

one of the first in yamaguchi’s yudaonsen! yubettou-nohara, a bath for a feudal lord? | a garden from the past

The waters of Yudaonsen have been loved by leaders of their time Ouchi, and Mouri.

It is said that Honkagi is the bath for the feudal lord, and the wives bathed in Urakagi. When you get to Yubettou-nohara it is easy to find the signs Honkagi and Urakagi. Of course the bath tubs are from the early Showa Period but the names are still used today.

Pictured above is the view from the room, the current garden at Yubettou-nohara. In the halls going to the bath there are many old pictures displayed. There are pictures with the garden in the background that show how busy it was back then. The building itself is old but it has a very impressive atmosphere with all its history.

A thick and slippery fresh from the source beautifying bath

one of the first in yamaguchi’s yudaonsen! yubettou-nohara, a bath for a feudal lord? | a thick and slippery fresh from the source beautifying bath

The feature of Yudaonsen is that it has a pH of 9.14 and is very alkaline. What is usually called a beautifying bath.

When you visit you will be surprised at how slippery the water is. Some might even describe it as thick. You can bathe here at Yubettou-nohara as a visitor. For more details check the link in the memo section Yubettou-nohara Official Site.

Even if you don’t have time to stay the night you should definitely check this water out.

The baths change from men’s to women’s by time. If you stay the night you can try both baths out, once in the morning and the other at night.

Pictured above is the Yakushinoyu outdoor bath.

There are historic sites of the end of the Shogunate all around the inn!

there are historic sites of the end of the shogunate all around the inn!

Near Yubettou-nohara there are many historic sites related to the patriots that brought on the end of the Shogunate. It might be fun to find all the different historic sites when visiting Yudaonsen.

Pictured above is the historic site Ochaya Rinyadoato. The Mouri Family which had a castle in Hagi had a guest house in Yamaguchi and a tea house in Yudaonsen. The tea house was a resting place for the lord and an entertainment place for guests. At the end of the Shogunate the loyalists met here in secret apparently. Now it is an izakaya named Isokura. It might be fun to eat here to feel those spirits.

Across the way is the site of Kawaraya. This was also a historic site during the restoration of the emperor and was used by loyalists such as Kido Takayoshi. The daughter of this inn was later married to Yamada Akiyoshi who is famous for establishing the University of Japan and being a politician and military man.

The quietness of the onsen town now belies the fact that it was once the hotbed of patriots’ dreams and ideas that fueled the Meiji Restoration.

Feel like a lord at Yudaonsen

Yudaonsen is also the perfect place to visit Yamaguchi City as well. There is also the foot bath tour, as well as visiting places related to Nakahara Chûya, Santōka Taneda for a poetry trip. For the foot baths check out the memo section below.

Feel like a lord bathing in the same Yudaonsen that was loved by Mouri!

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