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You are in: Fukuoka: Places To Go: Seiryu Onsen

Ooaza-Nameri, Nakagawa-machi, Chikushi-gun,
Open:10am to midnight - last entry 11pm.
from 900yen (details below)
Related Links:
Hisayama no yu
Internet Links:
  Onsen Photos.


Seiryu Onsen
Type: Hot Springs | Japan Experience

Atmospheric and reasonably priced hot spring in nearby countryside.
Review by Nick May

Fukuoka is not noted for its hot springs, which is a shame as they are a "must visit" for any visitor to Japan. In fact there are several decent onsen in the city. If you are prepared to spend a little time travelling, Seiryu Hot Spring in Nakagawa, (20 minutes by car or free bus from Ohashi station, itself 10 minutes from the centre of Fukuoka city by train) is definitely worth a visit - and in our opinion just pips Hisayama no yu (see link at top of page) in the all important "Japanese experience" stakes.

Seiryu is large, newish (it's been open a year) very clean, but traditionally styled with lots of wood and low lighting. It is set in the hills behind Nakagawa in deep woodland. Each side (man/woman) has 12 or so baths, 7 of which are outside, mostly off little paths that wind interestingly up the hillside. We visited it at night and it had a slightly Tolkienesque air - a "steam room groto" built into the hill being particularly memorable. There are baths for every taste and the lighting is low and atmospheric. We counted three saunas (hot but no steam) in addition to the steam room.

There are several "family rooms" for those with families or an excess of lust - but alas, no Konyoku (mixed bath). Because it is slightly out of the way it is, I delight to report, not graced by the usual cast of vaguely sub-Yakuza characters who tend to haunt city onsens. In short, a better class of clientele.

There is probably enough to fill 2 hours, and if you bore of the pools there are other toys. I am rather a fan of the various eclectic electrical instruments of massage that Japanese science has dreamed up - and Seiryu is graced by several worthy of your attention. Pop in your 100yen, lie back and allow yourself to be manipulated by busy little fingers of plastic in a manner just short of obscene. If you want the personal touch there is the usual array of "human hands on" massages, mud rubs, head manipulations and so on starting from around 3000 yen.

There is a civilized looking eating place adjacent - I didn't try it, but given the amount of what can only be described as "unashamd guzzling" that appeared to be going on, I assume the nosh was palatable.

So - points for the "Japanese experience" thing - lots of points for being a nice place that's decent value for money - points off for being a bit out of the way, but most of those go back for the free bus service. All in all, probably our favourite local onsen. Not as memorable as Hisayama onsen admittedly - but the sensations associated with un-wittingly soaking one's testicle in ginger are not necessarily those one would wish to repeat. In fact I may need therapy ever to forget...

Well worth the trip if you have a car - and the free bus service from Ohashi station makes it very available to those without. If you are here for more than a week and have a Japanese friend to guide you, beg, bully or beat them into taking you. (They will undoubtably bleat that they have never heard of it, never been, it is too far, etc - but just point them at the webpage and tell them you existence will be blighted forever if they don't take you...)

There are some pictures on the homepage, but they don't really do the place justice. See the link above.

Marks out of 5? 4 probably - but a good 4.

Price: If you "join" the Onsen (500yen) you can get in for 900yen weekdays, 1000yen weekends and public holidays. Otherwise it is 1200yen wekdays, 1400yen weekends and holidays. We got a large number of "cut price tickets" for subsequent trips when we joined. I gather "Ladies day" is Tuesday - when entry can be had for 600yen, but check the website for details.

The kanji describing the name on the roadsigns is probably unreadable to foreigners. (Think spider inebriated by ink in drunken death lurch across page.)

Check the website for the times of the free buses from Ohashi station (Ohashi is on the Nishitetsu line, 4 stops out of Tenjin, in the centre of Fukuoka city.) By car, down to Ohashi and turn right just after Ohashi station up the 385 towards Nakagawa. Follow the 385 for about 15/20 minutes until it crosses route 56. 2km further on there is a signposted right turn into a side road. Follow the signs to the Onsen.

(Omuta line)
20 min from Ohashi st'n by bus.

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First published Tue Sep 20, 2005
    Updated Wed Sep 21, 2005

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