Unzen Onsen Fukudaya 雲仙福田屋
Unzen Onsen 雲仙温泉 is a hot spring town not far from Mount Unzen on the Shimabara peninsula. The town is known for its Unzen Jigoku, or Hells: hissing and steaming gas vents and bubbling white mud pools, steaming hot roads and an omnipresent rotten egg smell (stemming from the sulphurous composition of the water).
The town lies above a magma chamber: volcanic gases rise from there and get mixed with ground water and seeping rainwater thus providing hot springs. The area is filled with white fumarolic gases generated as high temperature hydrogen sulfide, which turns the rocks near the surface into white mud.
All in all, very impressive sights are abundant. We saw only one more place similar to Unzen Onsen in Hokkaido – Noboribetsu Onsen, also famous for its Jigoku – Hells.
Unzen Onsen town
Apart for the natural phenomenon of its Jigoku, we came to the area to climb Mount Unzen and stayed for two nights. The town is small and everything is easily reached by foot. After dark it gets quite quiet and for an optimal experience, do take half board in your ryokan.
There are not too many options in town – Fukudaya was very well rated for its superb kitchen and it seemed a great choice for soaking in the onsen too. The hotel lies a bit further down the main road.
There are 2 outside onsen and a two inside as well. The food was served downstairs in private rooms. Up to now it was the best ryokan food we ate. The ryokan itself is stylish with a lot of wood accents.
There are different room sizes and budgets – we took a regular Japanese style room and it was more than enough. The room was sunny and it overlooked a small hill. A nice touch of hospitality was the panna cotta we found in our fridges every day. The overall experience was excellent.
Unzen Onsen is very easily reachable from Kumamoto by boat. We took the bus to Kumamoto port and embarked for Shimabara on one of the 2 boats – express or standard (one per hour). From Shimabara a bus brings you directly to Unzen town it stops right in front of the hotel (2 stops after Unzen town). Very practical if you have luggage with you.
We stayed in Unzen Onsen for 2 nights – the first day we sighted the Unsen Jigoku and went to see the lake. The second day we hiked around all day at Mount Unzen. Read the separate post about our Mount Unzen hike.
We last visited in March 19th 2020.