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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Relaxation

Ibusuki Onsen 指宿温泉

Hot healing sands and onsen by the sea, with a mystery isle you can reach only at low tide

Ibusuki Onsen is one of Japan's more unusual spa getaways, famous for its pairing of steamy sand baths on the beach and more conventional open-air hot springs nearby. Dressing in a light cotton kimono and having hot sand shoveled over you up to the neck is a singular experience said to cleanse the blood.

Not far off Ibusuki's coast is an islet called Chiringashima. Linked by a sandbar to the mainland briefly during the day, and only between October and March, it's a matchmaking spot. Besides the romantic aspect, there's plenty for beachcombers and hikers to explore here.

Don't Miss

  • Getting buried in one of the town's invigorating sand baths
  • Strolling from the mainland to Chiringashima
  • Learn about the town's local pottery at the Satsuma Denshokan Museum

How to Get There

Ibusuki is connected to the nearby main city of Kagoshima by train; travel covered by the Japan Rail Pass. Buses also run regularly between the two cities.

From Kagoshima Chuo Station you can take the express or local trains to Ibusuki Station. If you're traveling from Tokyo or Osaka, flying to Fukuoka Airport is the quickest option. From nearby Hakata Station, you can make the rest of the journey by the Kyushu Shinkansen and JR Limited Express Ibusukimakurazaki Line.

A hot sand detox

Ibusuki is Kagoshima's most famous hot spring resort well known for its excellent seaside location and sunamushi hot sand baths, a style of bathing said to have become popular over 300 years ago. The sand is naturally heated by volcanic steam.

A singular spa experience

After changing into a cotton yukata, you will go down to the sand bath area and be led to your spot by the friendly staff. As soon as you lie down in the sand pit you can feel the warmth, but that's just the beginning. The staff will cover you up to the neck in a layer of the sand.

The sand reaches temperatures of around 50-55°C, and sweating is a given, but that accelerates your body's ability to rid itself of toxins. Around 10 to 15 minutes is enough time for the full effect, although some stay under longer. This treatment opens the pores, improves circulation, and increases blood oxygen levels. Afterward, head inside to the regular hot spring baths to rinse off the sand and soak in the cleansing and equally beneficial onsen waters.

Add a little infinity to your perspective

If you are still hungry for another slice of hot spring heaven, then visit Healthy Land Tamatebako Onsen for a dip in an outdoor bath with incredible views of Mt. Kaimon. The gender-separate open-air infinity-pool style baths both feature stunning panoramic views of the ocean and the mountain's graceful slopes.

Discover the city's ceramic history

The Satsuma Denshokan Museum, set on the grounds of Hotel Hakusuikan, was specifically designed to showcase the history of Satsuma (modern-day Kagoshima). The museum focuses on local ceramics mainly crafted during the early Meiji period (1868-1912).

A sleepy rural onsen town

A trip to nearby Unagi Onsen, a real rural onsen town, is a worthwhile excursion. Unagi Onsen is a laidback little village dotted with many small family-run hot springs. Rebel and last samurai Saigo Takamori loved this little town, and the relaxed countryside atmosphere is a perfect backdrop for ultimate relaxation.

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