Ryoma and the Onsens of Kagoshima, vol. 3: Iodani Onsen (Kirishima Hotel)

Review of 霧島ホテル | 鹿児島県霧島市牧園町高千穂3948
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Onsen Sommelier Musashi
Onsen Sommelier Musashi 

Ryoma and Oryo departed Shiohitashi Onsen and set out with Yoshii Kosuke, their guide, to see samurai Komatsu Kiyokado of Satsuma. According to Komatsu’s journal, he was staying at Eno Onsen to recover from injuries, and Ryoma came to pay him a visit.

The onsen that Ryoma stayed at during this time was called Iodani Onsen (present day Kirishima Hotel). Read on to find out more.

Ryoma's Stay at Kirishima Hotel, Formerly "Kirishima-kan"

ryoma and the onsens of kagoshima, vol. 3:  iodani onsen (kirishima hotel) | ryoma's stay at kirishima hotel, formerly "kirishima-kan"

Ryoma and Oryo visited Komatsu at Eno Onsen, where he was receiving medical treatment. They also climbed Mt. Takachiho and visited Kirishima Shrine, and the next day stayed at Kirishima-kan, which is now known as Kirishima Hotel.

A statue depicting Ryoma’s stay at Kirishima-kan can be found on the grounds of Kirishima Hotel, and educational materials are available in the lobby to help guests trace the travels of Ryoma and Oryo.

It’s also written that the owner of Kirishima-kan, Horikiri Buemon, killed a gamecock and prepared Satsuma style cuisine especially for Ryoma and Oryo.


ryoma and the onsens of kagoshima, vol. 3:  iodani onsen (kirishima hotel) | "this is an onsen!"

Kirishima Hotel’s superb Iodani Onsen is its most famous feature, and when Kirishima locals have friends coming in from out of town, they always take them there, as no trip to Kirishima is complete without a visit.

The large bath at Iodani Onsen uses natural hot spring water from 14 different sources, from which an astounding 14,000,000 liters of water gush out each day.

A sign in Japanese above one of the baths makes no bones about it: kore ga onsen da!


No kidding…

Incredible Amounts of Water! The Tap is Wide Open

ryoma and the onsens of kagoshima, vol. 3:  iodani onsen (kirishima hotel) | incredible amounts of water! the tap is wide open

The first place to attract your attention will likely be the daiyokujo (large bath), which looks like it could hold about a thousand people at once.

When taking friends there for the first time, locals claim with a smirk that the bath is like an ocean. When people see it in person, it’s difficult to disagree; the word “ocean” isn’t such a big exaggeration. Sometimes there are even a few kids swimming around in the bath, which is usually bad manners in Japan.

It’s certainly a sight to behold, but the sound created by the sheer volume of water gushing out into the bath is surprising as well. Even if the volume of water doesn’t exactly reach 14,000,000 liters, the sight and sound are awe-inspiring nonetheless.

Bathe Outdoors, Surrounded by a Traditional Japanese Landscape Garden

ryoma and the onsens of kagoshima, vol. 3:  iodani onsen (kirishima hotel) | bathe outdoors, surrounded by a traditional japanese landscape garden

An outdoor bath, or rotenburo, awaits guests with a more relaxed atmosphere than the intense indoor bath.

In 1930, famous authors Yosano Tekkan and Yosano Akiko are said to have visited Iodani Onsen, and the baths are named after them. The men’s bath is called Tekkan-no-yu, or Tekkan’s bath, and the women’s bath is Akiko-no-yu.

A blue-tinted sulfurous water flows into the bath, which is surrounded by various sized stones. Take a slow bath surrounded by Kirishima’s abundant nature.

Iodani Onsen and Kirishima Hotel Can't Be Beat

iodani onsen and kirishima hotel can't be beat

Those not staying at the hotel can use the bath from 11:00AM to 6:00PM. Soap, shampoo, and other amenities are available at the onsen, so guests don’t need to bring anything. Some parts of the bath are mixed gender, but are ladies-only from 7:30PM to 10:00PM, so everyone can enjoy worry-free.

Iodani Onsen Kirishima Hotel Address: 3948 Makizonochō Takachiho, Kirishima-shi, Kagoshima-ken 899-6603 Phone Number: +81 995-78-2121 Onsen Composition: Sulfur springs Uses: Effective against chronic skin disease, feminine ailments, and cuts and scrapes. Price: 1000JPY for onset-only (no hotel stay), open 11:00AM to 6:00PM


Iodani Onsen is a dynamic onsen experience, which even the Bakumatsu era samurai hero Ryoma could appreciate. There’s just no excuse for not visiting Kirishima if you’re in Kagoshima!

For me personally, it’s one of the best onsens I’ve ever visited.

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