Kikuchi-onsen is also known as Waifu Onsen, was only discovered 60 years ago, the local myth states that a wise, old man called Mr Murakami was told the location of the hot spring by a white dragon in a dream. The hot springs are mainly situated in the area around the castle ruins in Kikuchi Town. There are around 10 different hotsprings to visit, entrance is usually 500 Yen, similar to Kurokawa Onsen there are onsen tokens available which allow entrance to 3 onsens for only 1,000 yen.
Benefit of hotspring water
The 45 degree hot spring water is clear and slightly alkaline with a silky texture, it is said that the water is ‘as smooth as skin of a maiden’. The water is so rich it almost sticks to the skin, locally it is known as ‘keshosui’ or ‘cosmetic water’ as it is renowned for making skin beautiful. It also benefits health, being particularly good for nerve pain, joint pain, sore muscles, and fatigue.
Though the hot spring is relatively new, the area’s history stretches back well over 1000 years. The hill above the onsen area was the caste home of the Kikuchi clan who governed the area starting from the middle Heian period (794-1185). Now it is the setting for Kikuchi Shrine, over 6000 sakura trees are planted here making it one of the most beautiful ‘hanami’ views in Kumamoto. Kikuchi is also well known for its large number of long-established Japanese confectionery stores apparently due to the locals love of (green) tea time.