Retro atmosphere and healing hot springs at the 200-year-old Jigoku Onsen Seifuso inn

Review of 地獄温泉 清風荘 | 熊本県阿蘇郡南阿蘇村河陽2327
地獄温泉 清風荘
  • Trip101 Review
  •  
Kyoko
Kyoko 
Updated

Aso region in Kumamoto prefecture is outstanding with its open nature and attractive sightseeing spots and hot springs. Jigoku Onsen Seifuso is an inn with a history of over 200 years. It’s one of the best hot spring treatment inns in Japan. This is a trip to the good old past when people treated their health in the hot water.

Jigoku Onsen Seifuso

retro atmosphere and healing hot springs at the 200-year-old jigoku onsen seifuso inn | jigoku onsen seifuso

Jigoku Onsen Seifuso inn is located on the southern slope of Mt Aso. By car it’s 40 minutes away from Kumamoto Airport, or 45 minutes away from Kumamoto IC on Kyushu Highway. This place developed as a health-treatment hot spring inn in 1808 and has a history of over 200 years. It has plenty of baths, but the most popular and atmospheric one is the gender-mixed open-air bath “Suzume no Yu”. People come here from far away to enjoy the healing hot water.

You can choose between staying in the main building, constructed 100 years ago, or staying in the private-style separate buildings or mobile houses (where it’s okay to prepare your own dinner and bring pets). There are traditional-style Japanese rooms on the second floor of the main building. The hallway and the rest of the inn are separated by a retro style sliding door.

Full-scale enjoyment in the hot springs! The first one is Motoyu

retro atmosphere and healing hot springs at the 200-year-old jigoku onsen seifuso inn | full-scale enjoyment in the hot springs! the first one is motoyu

There are many hot spring baths scattered around the spacious grounds of the inn: Suzume no Yu, Motoyu, Shinyu, the open-air rock bath for men, the open-air Adauchi no Yu bath for women, as well as private baths for guests of the inn. You can relax and spend leisurely time in those hot springs. First, let me introduce the charmingly rustic Motoyu bath.

Motoyu is located in the main building and uses a giant rock, so it’s rather wide. The water smells of sulfur and is a little turbid. This is the only bath with showers in Seifuso inn. It’s close to the private cottages and is opposite the detached inn building. “Motoyu” hot spring Water type: Thermal hot spring Spring source temperature: 61 degrees pH index: 3.89

The famous gender-mixed open-air bath "Suzume no Yu"

retro atmosphere and healing hot springs at the 200-year-old jigoku onsen seifuso inn | the famous gender-mixed open-air bath "suzume no yu"

Actually, “Suzume no Yu” has indoor as well as outdoor pools, but the latter are gender-mixed. The indoor pool is retro-style, hot, smells of sulfur and the water is turbid. The open-air bath consists of 8 separated pools and the water ranges from lukewarm to hot. You can choose your preferred temperature. The hot water springs directly from the bottom of this bath and has always been used for health-treatment purposes.

Between 8:30 and 9:30 pm this bath is for women only. Day trip visitors can’t use it during this time and it’s only open for guests of the hotel. The dim lights produce a nice atmosphere in the evenings. “Suzume no Yu” hot spring Water type: Thermal sulfuric hot spring Spring source temperatures: 41.3 degrees, 47.1 degrees pH index: 2.9 and 2.6

I also recommend "Shinyu" bath

retro atmosphere and healing hot springs at the 200-year-old jigoku onsen seifuso inn | i also recommend "shinyu" bath

The newest bath is called “Shinyu”. The hot spring mineral deposits on the bottom create a light milky white color. It’s rather hot, but I recommend it nevertheless.

There is also an open-air rock bath for men and another open-air bath called “Adauchi no Yu” for women, so you can explore various hot springs around this inn. Two more baths can be used privately by guests of the inn. They’re suitable for kids too. “Shinyu” hot spring Water type: Thermal sulfuric hot spring Spring source temperature: 45.3 degrees pH index: 2.6

At Kyokusuian restaurant you can try delicacies roasted on a sunken fireplace

at kyokusuian restaurant you can try delicacies roasted on a sunken fireplace

Some of the seasonal local delicacies include Shishi-nabe (a local hot pot), Shika-shabu Japanese meal set, Jigoku-nabe hot pot which uses plenty of mountain plants, and wild birds roasted on a sunken fireplace. Kyokusuian restaurant uses wooden materials from 300 years ago. The dishes are flown to the customers by a little water stream running around the tables in the middle of the space, similarly to the aristocratic parties in the Heian period.

The set menu with wild birds roasted on a sunken fireplace includes quail, wild boar meat, duck meat, salmon and vegetables put on a stick around the fireplace. Everything is meaty and delicious. Other dishes include devil tongue and taro with miso, rice with wild plants, a local soup called noppe-jiru and a dessert.

Breakfast is offered in a buffet style, consisting of over 15 items and delicious Aso milk. Eggs, tofu and seaweeds are flown by the little stream between the tables, so be sure to catch them. The dried food and bacon are roasted on the fireplace.

Conclusion

You can visit the hot springs on a day trip tour too, but staying overnight and relaxing in the various baths is more recommended. Aso is surrounded by open nature and has plenty of attractions. Enjoy your time exploring them all after you relax at Jigoku Onsen Seifuso inn.

Jigoku Onsen Seifuso Address: Kumamoto prefecture, Aso-gun, Minami-Aso village, Kawayo 2327 Day trip hot spring: from 8 am to 8 pm Admission fee: 600 JPY

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our privacy policy for more information on how we use your data

地獄温泉 清風荘
Good things are meant to be shared!