Shiga Prefecture - 滋賀県

Otsu | Gamo | Higashiohmi | Moriyama

Otsu City - 大津市

Kagura-yu

Japanese Name: 神楽湯
Prefecture: Shiga
City: Otsu
Address: 
滋賀県大津市中央3丁目6-4
Type: Sento
Webpage: http://www.shigalife.or.jp/cgi-bin/index.cgi?1344
Price: ?
Holiday: Friday
Hours: 16:00-22:30 (Sunday, Holidays: 15:00-22:00)

Review

Small basic sento somewhat close to JR Otsu station. Good to know if you are in the area and looking for a bath.


Gamo-gun - 蒲生郡

Minatoshio Yu.jpg

Gamono no Yu

Japanese Name: 蒲生野の湯
Prefecture: Shiga
City: Gamo
Address: 
滋賀県蒲生郡竜王町山之上7104-1
Type: Supersento
Webpage: http://www.gamounonoyu.net/
Price: ¥650
Holiday: Third Wednesday
Hours: 10:00-22:00

Review

In the search for the real, handmade non-homogenized in this world you can find many sento, but not so many supersento. Most of them are parts of chains, are connected to a larger parent corporation or have some other sense of the place being somewhat cookie-cutter. Gamono no Yu is one of the few really hand-built looking supersentos. This is all my conjecture, but it looks like the entire thing was the vision of one person--for better or worse. Thankfully most of that is in the better side. The baths here are small but accommodating and comfortable. There's a shallow heated spring water bath and a lukewarm straight well water bath outside. Both are incredible, of course I love the straight water one. I wish didn't live a 20 dollar highway toll away. Besides the great water, I like this bath for its handmade feel. There are haphazardly looking placed pipes going in and out of the building and the lockers look more like they should be in an factory break room for two examples. It is all good though. It gives it the charm of hot spring hotels back in the USA or even further out in the Japanese countryside. Look out for the sign in the large outdoor bath that warns bathers that the water might get cloudy if a earthquake happens nearby.

Hot Spring Data

Well Name: Gamono no Sato Onsen - 蒲生野の里温泉
Type: Carbonated sodium chloride spring with weak radioactivity - 含弱放射能-ナトリウム・塩化物・炭酸水素塩温泉
pH: 8
Type: Weak alkaline -
弱アリカリ性
Well Temperature: 38.8
Type: Hot spring -
温泉
Osmotic Pressure: Low - 低張性


Higashiohmi City - 東近江市

Sarasa no Yu.jpg

Happu no Yu

Japanese Name: 八風の湯
Prefecture: Shiga
City: Higashiohmi
Address: 
滋賀県東近江市永源寺高野町
Type: Supersento
Webpage: http://www.happuno-yu.com/
Price: ¥1300
Holiday: None
Hours: 10:00-22:00 (Saturday 10:00-23:00)

Review

The spring water here gave the skin a silky feel when in the baths and had a nice smell. Most of the baths were made with concrete which felt great to sit on and to touch. Outside the rotenburo had a very nice natural feel to it with great rock features. The sauna had that great wood smell that new saunas have and was nice and hot. Next to the sauna was a nice square cold water bath that was set below the floor and was not very deep. It was not the best design to make splashing yourself off after sweating in the sauna easier, but I found the bath itself very refreshing. I would have liked it more if there was some more diversity in the baths.

Happu no Yu is Set far into hills if you go here at night you'll be able to see a dark sky without the light pollution of more urban supersentos. The building uses the stoic modern Japanese style incorporating lots of wood and rock set in concrete which I found aesthetically pleasing. One bad thing was the long, long walk from the front entrance to the baths. It's quite beautiful, but it seems never ending.

While I loved the fresh rural air while outside and felt the building was very beautiful, but I couldn't keep on wondering why this costs ¥1,500. Yes the rental towel and robe for lounging around in was included in the price and they try to make this more than just for bathing by providing a large sleeping and TV room, but I still wasn't convinced that I was getting my money worth.  

At the entrance you'll notice the signs are in Japanese and Portuguese due to the large Brazilian population that works nearby. If you have the time, try stopping at the Brazilian market near the IC. They have some great meat filled buns for sale. Overall this is a great new place in a part of the country that doesn't have many bathing facilities like this. If you have time to spend a few hours there and really use the facilities to make up for the high price it would be well worth it.

Hot Spring Data

Well Name: Eigenji Onsen - 永源寺温泉
Type: Simple Hot Spring - 単純温泉
pH: 8.38
Type: weak alkaline -
弱アリカリ性
Well Temperature: ?
Type: Warm spring -
低温線
Osmotic Pressure: Low - 低張性


Moriyama City - 守山市

hinomaru.jpg

Mizuho no Yu

Japanese Name: みずほの湯
Prefecture: Shiga
City: Moriyama
Address: 
滋賀県守山市水保町1172
Type: Supersento
Webpage: http://www.mizuhonoyu.jp/
Price: ¥600
Holiday: None
Hours: 10:00-24:00

Review

Mizuho no Yu is a great supersento with a really high quality spring. It is classified as a simple spring, but one that you will instantly know is spring water. The bath is on a 3 floor layout with the rotenburo on the second in the rear of the building. The baths were designed well, but the decoration was very utilitarian.

I was surprised about how large the upstairs rest area is with chairs and TVs. I wish the front desk, shoe locker and changing room were equally large.

You can ride an elevator here naked. Always an added bonus!

I doubt you will be able to get here by train. The nearest station is 25 minutes away by bus. More information about getting there is on their website. If you are coming by car, be careful. The signage is quite large but gets crowded in the other buildings around it. Make sure you do not pass it also, if you go too far you will end up on a toll bridge that crosses Lake Biwa.

Hot Spring Data

Well Name: ?
Type: Weak Alkaline Simple Hot Spring - 弱アルカリ性単純温泉
pH: 7.55
Type: ?
Well Temperature: 33.8
Type: ?
Osmotic Pressure: ?


Hotaru no Yu

Japanese Name: ほたるの湯
Prefecture: Shiga
City: Moriyama
Address: 
滋賀県守山市吉身4丁目520
Type: Supersento
Webpage: http://hotarunoyu.jp/
Price: ¥800
Holiday: None
Hours: 10:00-25:00

Review

Hotaru no Yu is an eloquently designed, stylish supersento in a suburban area of Moriyama city. I could imagine that many of the people who live out here commute into Kyoto or Osaka to work. It is a complement to the other supersento in Moriyama, Mizuho. Even though they are both in the same city Hotaru and Mizuho are in completely different places. Mizuho was built in a more in an older, blue-collar neighborhood near the factories that symbolize Shiga in my mind. Hotaru was built for ever expanding suburbs spilling out from Kyoto and Osaka.

I actually think Mizuho is better due to the spring, visually speaking Hotaru is one of the best supersento around. The spring here in Hotaru is fine, better than average maybe, but the baths seemed to be not the focus of the complex. The dark, calming wood framing the exquisite Japanese garden did create a great atmosphere.

Overall, Hotaru is an exceptional supersento and one that I would be happy to live near. Just be aware you are paying the high price for the building and the garden not so much the baths.

Hot Spring Data

Well Name: Moriyama Natural Hot Spring - 守山天然温泉
Type: Simple Hot Spring - 単純温泉
pH: 7.7
Type: Weak alkaline -
弱アリカリ性
Well Temperature: 30.6
Type: Warm spring -
低温線
Osmotic Pressure: Low - 低張性