Hitoyoshi Onsen: Idyllic onsen town along a rive

Hitoyoshi Onsen: Idyllic onsen town along a rive

Located in the southern part of Kumamoto Prefecture in Kyushu, Hitoyoshi Onsen is a quaint onsen area spreading along the Kuma River, one of the three most rapid rivers in Japan. With more than 50 hot spring sources, there are two kinds of clear, transparent, tasteless, odorless water: slightly alkaline spring water containing low levels of dissolved substances and spring water mainly containing sodium hydrogen carbonate. Characterized by a moist and gentle texture to skin, both kinds of spring waters are called “water for the beauty,” establishing an enduring popularity even within the Kyushu region with lots of onsen hot springs. With many onsen ryokan Japanese-style hotels here and there along the Kuma River flowing west to east through the town, it is guaranteed that you can enjoy a luxurious time listening to the murmur of the river while staying at one of the hotels. Even if you are not staying overnight, you can enjoy onsen casually at one of more than 20 public bathhouses open for drop-in visitors.

With ryokan hotels and public bathhouses here and there along the Kuma River, you can enjoy various types of baths with different atmospheres.

Another recommended way to enjoy Hitoyoshi is a tour to visit historic sites, including Aoi Aso Shrine with its beautiful thatched roof, which was the first national treasure designated in Kumamoto Prefecture, and the Hitoyoshi Castle ruins, which is a nationally designated historic site.

Built in 806, Aoi Aso Shrine has a great access from Hitoyoshi Station, taking about five minutes on foot.

The Hitoyoshi Castle ruins are a great place to view beautiful cherry blossoms on about 230 Someiyoshino cherry trees from late March to early April every year.

A winter recommendation is “Baika no Watashi,” where you can get on a traditional wooden ferryboat and get a nice close view of the Hitoyoshi Castle ruins while going down the Kuma River.

A popular sightseeing activity is “Baika no Watashi” sightseeing ferryboat. Enjoy abundant nature along the Kumar River.


In the cold season, “kotatsu fune” ferryboats with kotatsu (low wooden table with a built-in heater, covered with a hanging quilt to retain the heat) are in service.

Editor’s comment: 
In the Hitoyoshi / Kuma area, there are several spots that appear in a popular anime series, “Natsume’s Book of Friends.” There is a taxi tour plan available to visit the sites that appear in the anime series and other popular tourist spots.

Hitoyoshi City Tourist Information Center
Tel: 0966-22-2411

Access -Haneda Airport → 1 hr 50 min by air → Kagoshima Airport → 50 min by taxi → Hitoyoshi Onsen -Kagoshima Airport → 52 min by highway bus Kirishima → Hitoyoshi IC
URL https://hitoyoshi-travel.com/en/
The information herein is as of January 2023

Kumamoto Article

Nature/spectacular views/scenery Article