By Jaime Wong
This little hot spring gem is conveniently located close to Kagoshima City's biggest mall, AEON. What better place to relax your throbbing feet after a long day of shopping than at an onsen? There are 11 types of baths and 3 types of sauna you can access for just 390 yen.
This is one of my favorite onsen spots in Kagoshima city for the variety and cleanliness. There is a small shop at the entrance where you can buy local snacks and products. Walk in a little bit more and you'll see an array of vending machines with everything from milk (a must-have after a hot soak!) to ice cream. Just buy a ticket from the ticket machine and grab a towel before entering the baths - separated clearly into male and female with blue and red curtains. There is no soap or shampoo provided so remember to bring your own or you can buy some from the vending machine located in the changing room.
Once you scrub yourself clean, it's time to enjoy the onsen, or the hot spring pools! The main onsen is inside along with some smaller ones like the electric pool. Yes, electric. The website says "the gentle low frequency waves stimulate your body" but I found the gentle waves to be quite strong. Proceed with caution and you should probably give it a pass if you have any cardiac problems. The onsen that is shaped like a long bench is a nice place to sit and relax if you get slightly overheated.
The best onsen are all outside. There is a wooden cypress onsen that comes with a TV in case you are not content with just taking in the divine smell. A circular onsen has different varieties of roses thrown in for a special rose hot spring bath. This is only done twice a month and restricted to the women's pool, sorry gentlemen! The cave onsen has headrests and shallow water so you can lie completely flat. I almost fell asleep there once because it was so calming. I tried to use the saunas before but the temperatures were so hot I had to leave immediately. Of course there were happy Japanese ladies in there who did not seem to mind the heat at all.
Irohanoyu always seems to be bustling with people but the weekdays are slower if you are looking for a quieter visit. There is also a restaurant attached that serves decent food at affordable prices. Their menu includes dishes like udon, curry, and ramen. It's not somewhere I would go out of my way for but it's a comfortable place to eat if you're hungry after your soak. Irohanoyu is a shop, onsen, and restaurant all rolled into one. What more could you ask for?
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