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You are in: Outside Fk: Karatsu: Places To Go: Shiyo Yu (Salt Onsen)

Sotohamasaki Beach, Karatsu City, Saga Prefecture
Open:Call for details.
Adults, 600yen.
Internet Links:
  Shiyo-yu Ryokan Homepage
  email address

Shiyo Yu (Salt Onsen)
Type: Hot Springs | Short Trips | Japan Experience

Salt water drawn from Karatsu bay in this onsen with excellent coastal views an hour by train out of Fukuoka.

Information by Nick May

Shiyo-yu is in a ryokan in Soto hamasaki-Kaikan a little village nestling on the shores of Karatsu bay on the edge of a long, wide golden beach. It is about an hour out of Fukuoka.

It is of particular interest as it uses sea water - pumped in from 1 kilometer out in Karatsu Bay. It is carefully filtered and heated before being sent up the the ryokan pools. The pools are indoors, on the first floor (second floor in American and Japanese English) behind huge picture windows that overlook the bay and the little islands around Karatsu. The water IS salty, very clean and wonderful to relax in. Of course the pools face west and the sunset, when it comes, is spectacular. The sun becomes a great molton ball of fire lighting up the sky in a blaze of orange light.

Although the main appeal of this onsen is the salt water and the view, the area around is very picturesque and an excellent place for a walk, a picnic or a swim. It appears to be under the threat of imminent beachside development though - it remains to be seen how successful this will be.

Take the Underground (Subway) from Tenjin towards Karatsu (not all trains go as far as Karatsu - you may have to change to a different train on the same line at Meinohama or Maebaru). Get out at Hamaski station. The onsen is about 10 minutes walk - head for the coast - you are looking for "Sotohamasaki beach" By car, take the Expressway or route 202 towards Karatsu. At Nijou you can either take the coastal road (picturesque) or the Karatsu expressway. If you take the expressway, come off at Hamasaki (a right turn) and head for the beach for 5 minutes or so. When you get to the coast road, turn right again and look out for the onsen down a road on your left. If you come up from Nijou on the coast road, it is about 20 minutes from Nijou. If you see a little set of bridges, with a single line railway bridge crossing at an angle just before a little village, you are very close. Look out on your right.

(Chikuhi line)
Niji no Matsubara st'n

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First published Mon Nov 10, 2003
    Updated Mon Aug 22, 2005

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