The hot spring treatment area beloved by people since ancient times
The group of hot springs in Beppu boasts an output of water that is tops in Japan and No. 2 in the world. Within that group, the one onsen that has amassed the largest number of springs is Kannawa Onsen. During his pilgrimage, Ippen Shonin, a Buddhist monk in the Kamakura Era, visited the Kannawa area and quelled the raging hellish district by opening a spa there which started Kannawa Onsen. Admired by the masses since the ancient times, it flourished as an onsen treatment health resort. At Kannawa Onsen, along with the Kannawa Steam Bath that Ippen started, there are a number of open-air baths that you can drop in at, and you can also enjoy going on a tour of the 8 jigoku made from the bubbling natural hot springs that are famous in Beppu tourism. In addition, vegetables and seafood caught locally are heartily cooked in the onsen steam to create Kannawa cuisine that even you can attempt at Jigoku Mushi Kobo Kannawa (Hell Steam Studio Kannawa), a spot that you have to visit.
The 700-year-old Kannawa Steam Bath
The story goes that it was Ippen Shonin who established the Kannawa Steam Bath in 1276. Currently, it has been renovated and the facilities are as good as new. First off, wash your body at the adjacent bath, then put on the yukata or a T-shirt and short pants, and head to the stone hut for the steam bath. The hut is kept at 75 degrees C, and the floor is strewn with medicinal herbs that give off a pleasing scent. While holding a timer, lie down on your back for 10 minutes and experience the steam. You’ll be surprised at how much sweat will come out of you after that time. Afterwards, all that fatigue in your body will just melt away once you wash away that sweat in another bath. This is a place that you will want to visit if you come to Kannawa Onsen.