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Imabari Yunoura Heights Onsen

Overlooking the Seto Inland Sea

Imabari Yunoura Heights onsen is the public bathing area of the Imabari Yunoura Heights hotel, located just outside the town of Imabari on a hill above the seaside where hot springs rise. The area is called Yunoura, and there are a number of hotels spread out at various levels on the hill. These hotels are very dated and the area looks a bit like a housing estate for hotels. The Yunoura Heights hotel itself could easily be mistaken for an apartment block from the outside.

Nevertheless, inside it’s unmistakably a hotel, with all the trappings like a chandelier and front desk. For 500 yen, anybody can use the onsen bath. Onsen in hotels tend to focus on atmosphere and space rather than on offering a wide variety of facilities like saunas, and the Yunoura Heights is no exception. There are just two baths, one with still water, and the other with violently bubbling water. I find that these tend to rattle my innards so I prefer the still waters.

Besides the baths, visitors are treated to a very fine view from the big plate-glass windows that form one wall of the baths. Yunoura overlooks the Seto Inland Sea with its beaches of orangey-yellow sand backed by pine trees. From the bath, you can enjoy the view of islands, punctuated by sightings of ships and sea birds. I went on a day when autumn mist cloaked everything in gray like a painting in ink wash, but on a fine day, the sparkling blue of the sea is no doubt a fine sight from the comfort of the baths. The spacious bathroom is tiled in dark granite, creating a cavernous impression, and the changing rooms are also commensurately big. The spring water of Yunoura has no noticeable characteristics in terms of touch or smell but it left my skin feeling smooth and refreshed.

The hotel has its own restaurant and café, and you can get a package for 1,750 yen that includes lunch, a drink, a room to relax in, and free use of the onsen. You really need a car to access Yunoura. The beach and the nearby park makes a pleasant excursion from Imabari or Matsuyama.

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