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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Kyushu Spring 2014 九州春季之旅 - Ureshino Onsen 嬉野温泉 (Bus Center, Onsen Park, Siebold no Yu, Footbaths)

Visited 17.03.2014 - 18.03.2014

Background: 

Ureshino Onsen in Saga Prefecture is named as the top three hot spring for beautiful skin in Japan by Satoshi Fujita, an expert on hot spring, alongside Hinokami Onsen in Shimane Prefecture and Kitsuregawa Onsen in Tochigi Prefecture. Colourless and silky hot spring waters contains sodium bicarbonate which removes hardened skin, washes away skin oils and secretions, and leaves a smooth sensation on skin. Not too commercialised at this point in time, one will feel that time has turned back when strolling along the streets in Ureshino Onsen town - the tranquility which I cherished a lot these days.

Apart from Toyotamahime Shrine and Todori no taki, below are some other spots that you will come across while exploring this little hot spring town.

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Other highlights:

(1) Bus Center & Tourist Information Center

Left: Bus Center & Tourist Information Center; Right: Mascot of Ureshino Onsen
Gateway to Ureshino Onsen, this is the first place you will visit if commuting via Ureshino line JR Bus. In the Tourist Information Center, housed in the bus center, you are collect useful brochures and maps from the staff. Was glad to speak to a English/Mandarin speaking staff who was on duty that day. Got their help to arrange for hotel pick up service from the bus terminal. Also utilised the lockers to safe keep our luggage while we toured the hot spring town in the afternoon.



(2) Onsen Park



Managed to slip in some time to visit this park opposite Warakuen in the morning. Spotted this Olle marker in the park.
Originated from Jeju, Olle are designated trekking trails enabling hikers to come closer to nature, rich history and culture of a place while going through this activity. In 2014, a collaboration with Jeju brought this concept to several places in Kyushu and currently there are about 15 courses to choose from. Ureshino course is about 12.5 km long, requiring approx 4 - 5 hours to complete. The course covers green tea fields (Ureshino being one of the best green tea producers in Japan), Todoroki no taki, Onsen Park and Siebold's Public Bath.  
Ureshino course (in Japanese): http://www.welcomekyushu.jp/kyushuolle/?mode=detail&id=16


(3) Siebold no Yu シーボルトの湯 (Public Bathhouse)



Named after Dr Siebold (a German physician and botanist who stayed in Nagasaki), this Gothic style building has been around since 19th century and has become an important focal point for locals in Ureshino city. Didn't get to utilitse the public bath house during this trip.
Opening hrs: 0600 - 2300 hrs




(4) Footbaths 

Siebold's Footbath
There are two free hot spring footbaths open to public. One of them is located near Siebold no Yu, named as Siebold footbath (シーボルトの足湯) and the other beside Soan Yokocho restaurant.



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Commemorative stamp:


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Video: Ureshino Onsen was featured in one of the episodes of 遇约九州, a travelogue promoting Kyushu. 

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