Yamashiro Ko-Soyu

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Name in Japanese: 古総湯
Area: Ishikawa
Address: Banshoendori-2番地1 Yamashiroonsen, Kaga, Ishikawa 922-0242, Japan [map]
Phone: +81 761-76-0144 +81 761-76-0144
Hours: 6am - 10pm (closed until 12pm on the fourth Wednesday of the Month)
Admission: Adults: ¥500
Middle School students: ¥200
Elementary School students: ¥100
Website: http://www.yamashiro-spa.or.jp/model/399

Meaning ‘old public bathhouse’ the Ko-soyu is one of two in town, but will definitely be the one to catch your eye.

Rebuilt in 2010, it has retained the original Meiji-era design, forming a stunning wooden focal piece for the town square. The baths are simple – single pools surrounded by beautiful kutani-yaki tiles depicting traditional illustrations. The windows are filed with coloured tiles and allow a soft light to fill the room. The water is very hot, and sometimes, staff must perform yumomi – a traditional water cooling technique to make it useable. The water is 100% spring water and is changed every-day, with a string reputation for soothing aching muscles and improving skin ailments.

The rest area on the second floor is a spacious tatami area with seats, tea and a balcony overlooking the streets below. Both the baths and the rest areas are separated by gender. Unlike modern baths, there is no washing area – you simply rinse by the water’s edge.

You can purchase a combined bathing ticket for access to both the Ko-soyu and the Soyu, for ¥700, which cost ¥500 and ¥440 each, respectively.