Showaen

The Hot Springs of Gold

By Chris Glenn    - 3 min read

Pass through the grand entrance gates with its old styled jinmaku curtains and large chochin lantern proudly welcoming you in, and you literally enter another world, another time. Walk the short sloping path to the main complex and well manicured, picturesque Japanese styled gardens and forget that there is anything else in this world, for this is luxury at it’s finest!

This is Showaen, one of Beppu’s finest hot spring resorts.

Gold was mined from the hills around Beppu during the Edo Period. This was where the nations best hot springs were said to be found, and so this was where the rich lords lived, and other wealthy individuals were allowed to build their holiday retreats.

Just below a former gold mine, and overlooking the township is Showaen, 30 minutes by car from Oita city and only 50 minutes from Oita Airport. Built on the site of a very wealthy landowner’s mansion, Showaen boasts the magnificent natural hot springs of the Kin no Yu, the “Golden Springs”. The Kin no Yu secluded onsen feature tiles of real gold lining the picturesque rock and moss surrounded outdoor bath. The waters are a warming, therapeutic 42 to 43 degrees, and everything about it is pure opulence.

Other onsen and outdoor rotenburo facilities are also available at Showaen, depending on what villa you choose to stay in. The Sen no Yu (The One Thousand) and the Man no Yu (Ten Thousand Onsen) are also very popular, although for a special treat, the Kin no Yu is a must!

Six smaller Japanese styled villas are available for rent. Each feature traditional Japanese styled living areas, with a separate bedroom, tea ceremony room, bathroom and aromatic hinoki wood lined bath. Four larger, family or group styled villas complete with their own private onsen, and two larger group stay villas are also for hire, all spread out amongst beautifully landscaped Japanese styled gardens.

A night or two in one of the elegant private villas may seem expensive, however full services are available with access to the hot springs and full course Japanese cuisine consisting of delicately prepared, locally caught and freshly grown produce is served in your room. You’ll soon understand why Showaen is popular among the rich and famous. The resort can also cater to larger groups too. See the Showaen home page for details (Japanese only) as prices vary for the limited villas and rates differ during peak and off season times too.

Access is about 10 minutes by car from the Beppu Interchange, or 5 minutes walk from Beppu Station.

Relax in the tranquil, elegant villas with beautiful surrounds and the steaming hot waters of the natural onsen. Be spoiled by the traditional Japanese hospitality and fine cuisine on offer at Showaen. Be aware, there is a downfall to staying at Showaen. At the end of your stay, passing out through those elegant front gates will be difficult. The real world once again awaits, but you’ll be all the more refreshed to take it on!

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Chris Glenn

Chris Glenn @chris.glenn

Chris Glenn is an Australian born radio DJ, TV presenter, helicopter pilot, and advertising copywriter. A follower of samurai culture , he is a member of the Japan Armor and Weapons Research and Preservation Society, has black-belt in Kendo, 2nd black-belt in Chanbara sword fighting disciplines, and currently studies Shinkage and Enmei Ryu techniques. A long term resident of Japan, he is extremely passionate about preserving and promoting Japanese history and culture.

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