Ibusuki (指宿) is an onsen town that is famous for its sand baths, where bathers are buried in naturally heated sand. The town encompasses the southern tip of the Satsuma Peninsula, and the main downtown area is along the coast facing Kagoshima Bay.
Ibusuki's sand baths can be enjoyed at a number of hotels and other facilities, but the most popular bathing spot is the large Saraku Sand Bath Hall, which is about a kilometer from Ibusuki Station. At sand baths, guests get provided with yukata robes and are then buried by staff members in hot sand that is heated by natural steam coming up from below. After staying buried for typically 10 to 20 minutes, guests wash off the sand and enter regular hot spring baths.
Although the sand baths are far and away Ibusuki's most famous attraction, there are a number of other activities that visitors can take part in. Local history and various displays of pottery are on display at the Satsuma Denshokan Museum, while another fantastic bathing experience can be enjoyed at the outdoor baths of Healthy Land. At the very southern end of Ibusuki City is Cape Nagasakibana, which has a nice lookout point with views onto the ocean and nearby Mount Kaimondake.
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Ibusuki Station can be reached directly from Kagoshima Chuo Station by limited express train (50 minutes, around 2130 yen, 3 connections per day) or local train (70-80 minutes, 1000 yen, 1-2 connections per hour). Both are covered by the Japan Rail Pass.
The Saraku Sand Bath Hall can be reached from Ibusuki Station by a 15 minute walk or a five minute bus ride (140 yen), while the Satsuma Denshokan Museum can be reached by a 7 minute taxi ride.
To get to the Healthy Land baths, take a bus from Ibusuki or Yamakawa Station bound for Kaimon Station (開聞駅前) and get off at the Healthyland-iriguchi bus stop (ヘルシーランド入口) from where it is a five minute walk to the open air baths. The same bus continues on to the Flower Park Kagoshima and Cape Nagasakibana.
How to get to and around the Satsuma Peninsula