At the bottom of the stairs

One of the most enjoyable things about travelling is meeting locals. In particular at onsens*, conversations often start with just a simple hello. Because the rules and manners vary from one onsen to the next, reading the signs and getting advice from regulars is part of the fun — it’s almost like borrowing the bathtub in someone’s home.


*An onsen is a public hot spring.



Tani no yu is one such local onsen. Here, customers pay the bath fee at the top of the stairs, and then descend to find the bathing area at the bottom — quite unusual for onsens. Having the dressing area directly beside the bath is a common layout found in Beppu onsens.



I wanted to see the beautiful statue of the Buddhist symbol Acala on the men’s side of the bath so I asked the receptionist if it was okay. “If there’s nobody in there, go for it,” she said, laughing. I learned that originally the source of the hot water came from below the pedestal which the statue sits on, but now there is just a hole where it once flowed.



Tani no yu

address1-8 Kitaju, Kanawa, Beppu-shi
closed on N/A
parking10 spaces
recommended forbath fee 150 yen