Ube City - 宇部市


Japanese Name: 杉野湯Prefecture: YamaguchiCity: UbeAddress: 〒759-0122 山口県宇部市大字大字吉見持世寺2910Access: 25 minute walk JR Kotō Station / JR西日本 厚東駅Category: Hot Spring FacilityPrice: ¥510Holiday: ThursdayHours: 7:30-18:30
Review:It is rare that I tell people to avoid a hot spring--all people, enthusiasts included. This is one of those times. Hot spring people, if they are anything like me, have a desire for unfiltered access to the water. That promotes a sense that overly manicured or developed bathing sites are less “real”. We like a bit of rust and dirt. A few spiderwebs or geckos running around means it is a healthy place. That said, I think some of us get a bit sadistic about this need for it to be real to the point of being downright dirty. I have been to a few bath houses that were dirty. I typically euphemize this in my reviews saying that the place is more for extreme sento fans and that first timers should avoid it.
However, there is a point where the dirtiness is something beyond reproach. Sugino-yu is such a place. I think that keeping sento and bathing culture alive and thriving is important to Japanese culture. A place like this gives bathhouses a poor name--and rightfully so! I give the benefit of doubt as much as possible so much that there are only 3 sento that I have told my readers to strictly avoid. Two of them were for issues with restaurant staff also! I only rarely give negative reviews and I reserve it for the most egregious cases.
I wanted to love Sugino-yu. It had the best setup for people like me. A straight from the well cool bath that was constantly filling over the brim and a heated bath that was in the 45°C range. I should have loved this place. The spring was mildly radioactive and had a smell of sulphur--a quality spring indeed! But sadly these owners do not deserve to keep watch over such an amazing natural wonder.
It smelled like the sewers of Yangon and looked like beat-up parts of Pohnpei. Cats everywhere with a bunch of newborn kittens wandered the parking lot. The most disgusting toilet I have experienced in Japan. It was worse than the pit toilets way up in the mountains or ones in Osaka that have discarded hypodermic needles. The building looks like it once was beautiful, same with the bathtubs. There was great tile and beautiful woodwork hidden under the scum and dirt, but, the owners do not do even the most basic level of cleaning. They sure seem busy playing with their herd of cats and telling me not to take pictures of outside of the building however! I If you have time to lean you have time to clean people. It does not need to be perfectly clean either. Sankukai, for example, is a bit manky here and there but it was fine. My wife and daughter both enjoyed it. These owners at Sugino-yu do not deserve the ¥510 fee they charge. They are profiting off of nature while also not giving nature the proper respect it needs. They should be reported to the public health authorities and not be allowed to run a business, and you, after reading this, should never go to this place. Horrible. Offensive. Blasphemous.
Sadly the other establishment offering access to this spring across the road was closed due to COVID-19 as of September 2020. Visit Date: September 2020 *Hot Spring Data*Spring Type: Radioactive spring - 放射能泉Well Temperature: 26.7°CpH: 8.1Well Name: Jiseiji Onsen - 持世寺温泉