The path to Takegawara Onsen

I looked up at a big sign, on it written “Takegawara Onsen Yokocho”. It told me I still had a bit more to go before I got to the onsen*. I imagined sinking my tired feet into the hot water, and naturally my pace quickened.


*An onsen is a public hot spring.




I saw a cat napping happily on top of a manhole cover. As I approached slowly so as not to startle it, a local saw what I was doing and said, “That manhole cover is always warm from the onsen, so you can always find that cat laying on it.” In this town even the cats know how to enjoy the onsen.



As I continued I found another cat sleeping on a manhole cover just like the first. “Both of those cats are pregnant,” I was told. The baby cats inside her belly are surely warm and happy.

An old man walking by noticed that I was carrying a camera and said, “If you want to get a good picture, go to Takegawara Onsen — it’s nice to look at.”

As I continued down a narrow street I came upon a wooden building that stood out from the others. The wood grain of the outer walls looked as if history itself was scratched into the wood. I tried my best to contain my excitement and pressed forward until finally I reached Takegawara Onsen.

Takegawara Yokocho

addressMotomachi, beppu-shi
tel0977-23-4748 (Hirano Shiryokan)