Kirishima Onsen (霧島温泉) lies on the lower slopes of the Kirishima Mountains with a distant view over Kagoshima Bay and Sakurajima. It is one of Japan's leading hot spring resorts with high quality, sulfuric hot spring waters and an interesting variety of outstanding bath facilities.
Kirishima Onsen covers a rather wide area and is made up of over a dozen separate hot springs. Among them, Maruo Onsen is the largest and the representative resort town of Kirishima Onsen with a high concentration of ryokan and hotels. More ryokan and hotels of various sizes are spread across the area.
Visitors to the area can enjoy the thermal waters by staying at one of the local ryokan or visiting a public bath. Furthermore, many ryokan open their bathing facilities to non-staying guests during the daytime for typically 500-1000 yen. Below is a list of some of Kirishima Onsen's best baths:
Daytime Hours: 11:00 to 17:00 Daytime Admission: 1000 yen Overnight Stay: From around 14,000 yen per person including 2 meals
The bath facilities of the Kirishima Hotel are among Japan's most unique. Located in a huge covered hall, they feature a spacious pool with a tall water fountain and various smaller pools around it. Somewhat kitschy but very enjoyable. A small section of the bath is reserved for women only, and the entire hall is for women only between 19:30 and 22:00.
Shinyu Onsen - Shinmoeso••
Daytime Hours: 8:00 to 19:00 (entry until 18:30) Daytime Admission: 600 yen Overnight Stay: From around 13,000 yen per person including 2 meals
Simple, slightly run-down, but very atmospheric with pipes all over the place. Excellent, sulfuric waters in a mixed outdoor pool and several small, gender separated indoor pools. Small, simple, gender separated changing rooms. The baths belong to the Shinmoeso lodging which provides simple Japanese-style rooms, dinner and breakfast.
Daytime Hours: 10:00 to 16:00 Daytime Admission: 800 yen Overnight Stay: From around 10,000 yen per person including 2 meals
This remarkable public bath house with attached ryokan offers gender separated, medium sized indoor and outdoor pools. Its most unique attraction, however, is the slightly radioactive mud, transported in from a nearby hot spring source, which bathers can apply to their skin for a few minutes for skin beauty before washing it off in the pool.
Daytime Hours: 12:00 to 15:00 Daytime Admission: 500 yen Overnight Stay: From around 12,500 yen per person including 2 meals
The views from the small outdoor pool are the main attraction of this ryokan's gender separated bathing facilities. There is also an indoor pool and a sauna.
Kirishima Kokusai Hotel
Daytime Hours: 11:00 to 15:00 Daytime Admission: 1000 yen Overnight Stay: From around 10,000 yen per person including 2 meals
This large ryokan complex offers two bath facilities for each gender. At one end of the ryokan are the main facilities with multiple indoor pools and a medium sized outdoor pool, while at the extreme opposite end of the hotel complex is another large, attractive outdoor pool (see photo).
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Getting there and around
Bus network around Kirishima:
Kirishima Onsen does not have the best public transportation network. As a result, it is best explored by rental car. Rental car outlets are available in Miyazaki, Miyakonojo, Kagoshima and at Kagoshima Airport.
The most useful bus line connects JR Kirishima Jingu Station with the Kirishima Iwasaki Hotel (35 minutes, 580 yen, departures every 1-2 hours) via Kirishima Shrine and Maruo Onsen. In addition, there are bus lines from JR Kirishima Onsen Station (35 minutes, 530 yen, departures every 1-2 hours) and from Kagoshima Airport (40 minutes, 720 yen, departures every 1-2 hours) via Maruo Onsen to the Kirishima Iwasaki Hotel. Another bus line connects Kirishima Shrine with JR Miyakonojo Station (70 minutes, 1260 yen, departures every 2-3 hours) in Miyazaki Prefecture.