Monday, March 26, 2018

Oyunuma Brook Natural Foot Bath - Onsen Exclusively for the Feet! @ Noboribetsu [Hokkaido, Japan]

It's almost seven months since my visit to Hokkaido last August but it remains deeply etched in my memory; there were a number of key highlights for my inaugural Japan trip and one of them was soaking my tired feet in a natural foot bath at Noboribetsu! 

How natural is it?! Well, its actual source came from Oyunuma; one of the largest thermal lakes in the world! I believe the water also originates from Taisho Jigoku (大正地獄); a smaller hot water pond that was closed for safety reasons when we were there.

Crossing the wooden bridge; strangely, my three travel mates in front of me appeared to be spread out equally in distance; this actually reminded me of a weird incident at Pulau Ubin when a group of friends were cycling along a unlit path on a moon-less night. 

Anyway, shall share the story another day. In the meantime, a picture of a steaming brook with water that came from Oyunuma

Must occasionally make use of the shutter function on my DSLR since i am a lover of its automatic button. Oh well, a bit overexposed in my opinion and i am too lousy in photoshop to improve it.

At no point should you be wondering if you can dip your feet into the water! Technically, the water wasn't deep at this point but since the foot bath was quite widely featured; there must be a proper place where you can soothe your feet and this area definitely didn't cut it as being proper, and safe. 

Just follow the path (please don't attempt to push your friends or even your child to the edge) and you would eventually came to an area where you will know for sure it's THE foot bath area. 

Ta dah!

There were proper wooden beams and planks for you to sit on and the calmer water was high enough to cover both of the feet without wetting your bermuda shorts that's not longer than your knees. 

Staircase leading down to the brook.

Green, lush foliage, the soothing music from the cascading waterfall and feet that were submerged in warm water; the atmosphere was extremely relaxed when i closed my eyes, until some noisy tourists brought me back to reality.

Do keep in mind the notice that warned of sudden change in temperature; resulting in the water being too hot due to "activities at Taisho Jigoku". The notice was the reason why i thought the foot bath could have two sources; Oyunuma and Taisho Jigoku. 

Whatever the case, let's kick start the soaking and unless you want to bear the risk of having a wet bottom; get one of these styrofoam mats there were hung over nails hammered onto a horizontal wooden pole! 

Put it on the wooden plank and use it not only to prevent a wet butt but also as a comfortable cushy pad for your backside; especially sharp ones like mine.

If the mats run out, just walk across to the other side of the brook with round wooden beams. As people don't walk along that side, the beams were generally dry. 

Enjoying the therapeutic onsen moments; as you can see, the soil was black and although i didn't rub them on my face, i did like scrubbing my hands and feet with them! 

As the 'waterfall' wasn't tall and we didn't bring extra clothing, it's a challenge to have hot spring water running down from the head to the feet just like what my family and i did at Sari Ater Hot Spring Park in Bandung

Since it was nearing 6 pm and visibility was worsening the longer we dragged the time at the natural foot bath, we decided to get going despite being super reluctant to do so.

This seemed like a pump room for the sulfur rich water.

Another wooden bridge connected us to the main road which we actually drove along from Lake Toya to Noboribetsu

'Drain' that's in fact from the brook we soaked our feet earlier; maybe due to the colour, it didn't look as appealing and as mesmerizing as it did earlier. 

No, we didn't drive the car! However, we did return the next morning at about 8 am as Alex and I, with two travel mates who also woke up early, would love to pamper our feet (and relax our souls)! 

I would share the location of the carpark later as i understand some of you would prefer to check out the attractions in Noboribetsu using the car instead of hiking. I would have done so myself but i honestly didn't know there were parking lots available near the foot bath and Oyunuma.

Just remember to keep a lookout for traffic as it's a bend from the carpark to the entrance of the oyunuma wooden path; a blind spot for drivers. 


The pump house we passed by the day before.

Arrival and total time taken for us to reach the natural foot bath from the carpark was only a mere five minutes! Those rushing for a time and / or only passing through Noboribetsu should consider visiting this place! 

Foot bath belonged exclusively to us! Aside from the lack of visitors so early in the morning, another key advantage was that the cooler surrounding temperature made it even more shiok to soak our feet in the hot water! 

This explained why our feet were literally just hovering above the water for a good one or two minutes before soreness forced us to bring them down.

More pictures for your viewing pleasure! 

We had a blast for about 30 minutes before other tourists started streaming in; guess they couldn't sleep just like us given how early the sun rises in Japan in summer.

To have a better idea on the walking trail we made on this day in the onsen town at Noboribetsu, click here.


Noboribetsu Onsencho, 
Noboribetsu 059-0551, 
Hokkaido, Japan 

Location Map for Carpark
As above.

Entrance Fees
Free for all! 

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