Shibu Onsen Bathhouse No.9: the 'O-yu'
The ninth and largest of the nine ‘public’ bathhouses of Shibu Onsen, the ‘O-yu’ is the only hot spring that can be used by both day-visitors and those staying at a guesthouse. Though called ‘public’, all other of the nine hot springs of Shibu are reserved for use by guests (of any local guesthouse) or residents of the town. The O-yu is however actually open to the public during the day.
As the ninth of ‘The 9 Healing Hot Springs of Shibu Onsen’, the mineral-rich water of the O-yu is said to treat neuralgia and rheumatism. It can of course also be enjoyed purely for relaxation, with its traditional wooden interior and naturally clouding water transporting those who enter to another world.
Tickets are available at the Shibu Onsen Tourist Information Office, around 2-minutes walk from the bathhouse. Located down a flight of stairs, the mens and womens baths are entered from opposite sides with an open-air foot onsen located above. The foot onsen is free to use by anyone who wishes to do so. It is one of two in town, equally enjoyable no matter the time of year.