[Update] Road to the the Nabeyama-no-yu closed down after a 28-year-old lady was attacked and killed near the Nabeyama-no-yu on Aug.31, 2010. The murder suspect was arrested in August 2011. (updated Sep. 12, 2011)
A wild mud bath. You can see the Beppu Bay if the sky is clear. (photo: Jan. 2008)
For those looking for onsens in wild settings, I strongly recommend this Nabeyama-no-yu(鍋山の湯), near Myoban Onsen(明礬温泉) in Beppu City, Oita Prefecture.
You can enjoy two types of Onsen here. One is usual hot spring bath, transparent with many small black mineral encrustations, and the other is mud bath. Located upper stage, the mud bath has spectacular view. If the sky is clear, you can see the Beppu Bay through Yukemuri, or streams of Onsen steam of Kannawa Onsen.
Transparent onsen bath. It was lukewarm at my visit. But it's very hot at the fountainhead.
Beware of slippy mud. I was so excited to find this mud bath and when I rushed to the bath, I slipped and hit my leg on a lock hardly, and I came back with a big purple and green bruise on my leg.
If you are willing to walk nearly an hour each way like me, it's accessible without a car. Take a bus numbered 5, 9, 24, 41, or 43 from the west exit of the Beppu Railway Station and get off at the Myoban Onsen(明礬温泉) stop. Bring a detailed map and check it before start walking.
If you visit with a car, don't leave valuables in your car. I heard some reports of theft.
A small mud bath. Rocks around the bath was so slippy.
Type: Gender mixed open air bath. No signboard on clothing rules. Available anytime for free.
Equipment: Nothing. No toilets, no changing rooms.
Access: Possible to visit without a car, if you walk nearly an hour one way.
My personal rating (A-E): A＋