Controversial Beppu Hoyo Land Resort
We are dropping by Yabakei and Rakan temple for sightseeing on the way to Beppu hot spring after getting off the ferry at Shinmoji port in the early morning. When we arrived at a service area in Beppu bay on the Oita highway from Usa interchange, it was already just after 2:30 pm. As always, we didn’t book any accommodation, but it looked like it would be perfect timing to look for accommodation by the time we arrived in Beppu.
When we looked down at the Beppu township from a lookout in a service area, I was surprised that it looked more like an urban city than I had imagined. Today is the first day of Golden week I thought, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find some accommodation as it was such a big town.
Myoban hot spring, one of the eight Beppu hot springs
We sort of removed the worry of getting accommodation after seeing the big town, so we continued going to Beppu hot spring town with a good mood. The next stop was “Beppu hot spring Hoyo Land Resort ”.
Beppu hot spring Hoyo Land Resort is a hot spring facility that is in the Myoban hot spring, which is one of the eight Beppu hot springs. Myoban hot spring is located a little far from central Beppu, when we looked at the map it seemed closer to go from our current location than the Beppu interchange, so we went off at a smart IC in a Beppu bay service area, went on a regular road, climbed up a mountain path and could see clouds of smoke from hot springs ahead of us.
Oh, such an impressive place Beppu is! It was a little more to go to the hot spring town, but everyone couldn’t help but feel amazement when they saw the incredible geothermal energy, it felt like there was no point comparing this place with others.
We started seeing a triangular straw‐thatched roof like house with a steep rafter roof on the side of the road.
This was a Yunohana cottage where they pick Myoban which is hot spring mineral deposits (yunohana) that Myoban hot spring is famous for. It’s surprising that even nowadays they make these in such a primitive way.
Those yunohana cottages in Myoban hot spring township can be viewed with an admission fee. We decided to go sightseeing in Beppu the next day and concentrated on going to Hoyo Land Resort and looking for accommodation.
A great success even though it had some bad rumors? The mystery of this Hoyo Land Resort
Hoyo Land Resort has its own source of spring called Kouya jigoku which is very distinguished among the Myoban hot springs, and is located just outside the central Myoban hot spring spot where there are a row of yunohana cottages.
The building of the getaway is tiny so you can’t really call it “something land” and the atmosphere is authentic and old so it’s not made or produced.
We forgot to take a photo of this, but there was a great looking Japanese garden on the side of the building and we could see steam from Kouya jigoku blowing up a few meters high in the middle even from far away. Well, I can’t understand how they made a Japanese garden in a facility so small that has a European type name.
Reviews of Hoyo Land Resort are either described in black and white as excellent or bad
The reason why we wanted to visit here in Beppu was because the reputation of the natural spring is great but the reviews of travel websites had either very good reviews or very bad reviews, so there weren’t many reviews which stood in the middle.
Even an anonymous online noticeboard in Japan has almost only negative comments about Hoyo Land Resort , but when we went that day, the car park was basically full and very popular, so those negative comments could just be abuse.
The reception is just after the front door and you pay 1,000 yen admission for an adult.
The building is old, but it’s well cleaned and looks clean. When we looked at the list of services available, it looked like they had options to stay at Hoyo Land Resort .
Do “crocodiles” live in hot springs in Japan?
Crocodiles live in hot springs in Japan. Well, but they are not real crocodiles though.
A long time ago, Japanese homes didn’t have bathrooms, so it was normal to use a common bath house to have a bath. However, surprisingly they didn’t have a gender separation custom before the Edo era, so it was normal to go in a bath naked with other people who you were not friends with and both males and females bathed together.
This photo is an old photo of Yachi hot spring in Aomori.
After that, when the European culture came in, the mixed bathing was deemed a barbaric custom and it was removed, but there are still quite a few of bath houses that have kept the tradition of mixed bathing in some historical hot springs.
This Hoyo Land Resort is one of those mixed bathing spots, and most of the negative reviews said that Hoyo Land Resort has a lot of “crocodiles”.
The word crocodile is a codeword and it means perverts like those people who appear in the mixed bathing houses hoping to perv at women. So those crocodiles stay in the bathhouse for many hours until a woman they like comes in. Once they find a target, they just go up close to them, stare at their naked bodies and harass them by posing and trying to show them their genitals on purpose. (These actions are of course inappropriate.)
The way they wait for women in the bath house looks like a crocodile waiting in a bog, so that’s why they are called crocodiles.
But, the outdoor bath called Awanoyu in Shirahone hot spring in Nagano has another spot for crocodiles but this place has a lot of couples and families, so it seems uncomfortable for a single guy and so this is Hoyo Land Resort . I really wonder if crocodiles come out in a place with such a peaceful atmosphere.
The bath is right at the back of the building.
When you go out the back door of the old building, a handmade Japanese hallway continues to the back.
When you go into the entrance of the bath building when taking your shoes off, there is a rest room that looks even more aged.
Hand the half ticket that you paid for in the lobby to the elderly man who is in the kiosk at the back of the resting room and go into the bathing room from the side door of the kiosk.
Hoyo Land Resort has a changing room and indoor bath inside and an open bath outside, and a mixed bath only outside. When I was heading to the female changing room, the man at the kiosk told me not to take any photos in the bath at all. However, so many people were in the female changing room and the drawer was almost too full to leave my clothing in. There’s no way I could take photos!
The changing room was in the same room as the bath and had no partition. I took my clothing off and went to the inside bath first.
I’ve never seen such a muddy bath! The miracle of the hot spring source of Hoyo Land Resort
The feature of the hot spring of Hoyo Land Resort is the thick mud bath that is one of a kind. They have two inside baths, one is a colloid hot spring and can have a dozen people, and the other one is smaller but can still have 10 people in. I couldn’t take a photo of them this time, so I’m borrowing the photos from their website.
This is the colloid bath.
And, this is the mud bath inside.
There was a note on the wall in the bathroom saying ‘Please put some bath water on you before going into the bath, after that go into the colloid bath first to clean up and then go into the mud bath.’
By the way, I’d never heard of colloid baths before, so I searched for them later on. They contain a lot of colloid sulfur and basically colloid sulfur is the major component supposedly. I couldn’t find out about it well in the end, but probably that is not the official name.
The colloid bath had some mud in it, but it was a warm temperature and had a nice soft feeling.
Oh I nearly forgot, the reception guy told me to put a shower cap on before and gave me a single use one.
It’s not the usual rule that you have to wear a shower cap. Is it because it’s not easy to clean the mud out of your hair if it goes on it?
I went in the colloid bath for two to three minutes and went outside, because I knew my buddy would be waiting in the mixed bath.
They had a conservative blindfold at the exit of the path to the outside bath from inside, but the bath water was clouded, so there was no worries about being seen naked even in the mixed bath. There were a bunch of women looking at the outside bath, so I wondered if the bath was full of people, but unexpectedly it was almost empty.
This outside bath was a mixed bath but they had a roughly made fence to separate men and women “just in case”. The men’s side was very popular compared to the women’s side. Well, they were all normal people, but I found a couple of groups of people who looked a little strange in the corner just outside the bath.
They were probably crocodiles. There were five people at that time I think. Some might not have been crocodiles, but ladies may have been watching them and that was maybe why they weren’t in.
If there was no fence at all, even though this one is not that large, those crocodiles could come closer to the entrance of the woman’s bath, so it makes a big difference as to whether a women will go into the bath or not if there is a fence there. I read about it in reviews, but I think at least Hoyo Land Resort is trying. They cannot end their historical mixed bath so easily and the best way they could do it was probably the bamboo stick crossing the bath in the middle.
Aren’t they sad spending their time and the whole day being looked at coldly by people, those crocodiles? That is a really boring life.
A totally naked male customer was wondering around the outside bath..
The inside male bath is in the same building as the female bath because they positioned the female side towards the inside bath, so unfortunately men have to walk out around to their outside bath to the other side, it’s not really like every man puts a towel around their hips and walks around, some don’t, so it may be a big surprise for non experienced women.
At the bottom of the outside bath, a lot of rubbish is mixed in the mud!
I found my buddy on the male side, I went closer to talk to him...
Ew…! How disgusting!
There were a lot of fibrous looking things around my feet tripping me up!
I took them off my feet with my hands, they were plant fibers like leaves and straw but there weren’t many hairs.
This outside mud bath has clear water on the top, the bottom is strong and densely concentrated like play doh ish mud. Especially, in the center at the bamboo fence, there is thick mud deposited at the bottom, so the rubbish goes into the water, accumulates together and is not easy to clean up.
I remember reading a lot of reviews saying that human hair in the bath was disgusting.
Then I thought that the rule of putting a shower cap on when going in the bath could have been for the hair problem reason, they had to set it up like that so that it prevents hair from falling into the bath.
Still, it wasn’t a nice feeling every time I walked as I had to feel some rubbish in the mud even though there’s no hair.
Mm.. It does make sense why those reviews were all black and white. The people commenting were correct but the facility put their effort into it, so anyone who doesn’t mind those problems should just go in, well, it is actually a hot spring too.
But, the mud in the inside bath had almost no rubbish in it, so if you heard too much and can’t make up your mind, then you could just go into the inside bath only.
Well, there are a few issues, but the quality of hot springs was excellent so I didn’t care about those issues ultimately so I thought I wanted to visit Hoyo Land Resort again if get a chance.
I learned later on that Hoyo Land Resort has other baths like steaming baths and smaller mixed outside baths. They are supposedly located at the back of the male bath side, so they’ll be difficult to go in during the day.
However, I was surprised that there were quite a few ladies even though it has a bad reputation apart from the quality of the hot spring. It’s scary but thrilling? Or they may have been taken there simply without knowing the issues.
Alright, now we are going towards Beppu station to find accommodation for tonight. ..to be continued.
Beppu Hoyo Land Resort
Address：5, Myoban, Beppu-shi, Oita,
This post is also available in 日本語.