Detoxing in a steam sauna with medicinal herbs

Kannawa Steam Bath is a Japanese style sauna which features a bed of medicinal and fragrant grasses laid out in a stone hut heated by geothermal steam. Guests are invited to wear a special yukata* as they enjoy the sauna. Experienced users will often come with a t-shirt and shorts to change in to. Guests are led into the steam room by the staff, where they are allowed to stay for eight to ten minutes. Because of the high temperature, your exposed feet will get hot as the minutes pass, while the rest of your body, surrounded by a cloud of steam, will become covered in sweat within moments. It is as if your entire body is absorbing the heat and steam through your skin. Many of their regular customers are young women who come here to maintain healthy skin.


*A yukata is a Japanese garment, a casual summer kimono usually made of cotton.



I spoke with a young woman with beautiful, healthy skin who comes to Kannawa Steam Bath every other day despite having an actual hot spring bath in her home. “I’m sensitive to cold an often get headaches,” she said of the reason she makes the trip. I also met a gentleman who said he started coming here during breaks in his work day to help alleviate aching shoulders. The general consensus was people usually come here with a specific purpose in mind. The old woman at reception explained from experience the most important things to know before entering the steam bath. The refreshing, full-body experience when I came out of the steam bath was nearly addictive, and I felt jealous of the people who live close enough to come here every day.


Sitting outside at the free foot-bath I met a woman and her daughter who came to Beppu from Saga Prefecture to enjoy the onsen.* The 91 year old woman decided that she wanted to enjoy the onsen while she still could, and came here with her daughter to spend half a month doing just that. All around Kannawa you can find free foot-baths, steam foot-baths, and warm rocks for resting your feet on, so there are many places to take a break from walking. “The foot baths are much easier for my elderly mother than the full baths,” said the daughter. While listening to them speak I realized that while only steaming my feet, my whole body had actually become warm.


*An onsen is a public hot spring.




Kannawa Steam Bath

address1 Kannawakami, Beppu-shi
hours6:30-20:00 (last entry is at 19:30)
closed onfourth Thursday of the month (if that day is a holiday they will open and close the following day)
parking15 spaces
recommended forSteam bath 510 yen (yukata rental 210 yen, foot steam bath free)