Banjaku Sanso, Banjaku Onsen

A desolate bathhouse in the southern Hokkaido has real hospitality.

The humble shack tells what the real hospitality is.


Through Dirt Road

Yakumo-cho is an only town that faces both the Pacific and the Sea of Japan.

The town is located between the large cities, Hakodate and Muroran, and suitable for taking a break during a long drive.

Signboard

A bathhouse for walk-in, Banjaku Sanso may be an option for the break.

Get off Hokkaido Expressway, drive the route 67, and turn right to a dirt road at this signboard.

The deserted road is narrow, but a normal car can go through.

You will find a parking space after driving 0.3 miles.

Bridge

Waiting is recommended if you find a previous visitor’s car, because the bathhouse has only a small tub for mixed bathing.

You will see the shack beyond a wooden bridge.

Back

Hot spring maniacs may get excited seeing the rustic appearance, and ordinary people feel disappointed.

Standing in front, it looks functionally structured.

Front

The bathroom in the right has a big window under the ceiling for promoting ventilation.

It is important for a hot spring to prevent the volatile gas congested.

The window is covered with anti-insect nets.

Hospitality

Changing Room

When entering, you will find several towels of regular visitors, hanging from the ceiling.

By no means is it clean, but it is somehow atmospheric.

Door of Bathroom

Opening the door of the bathroom, there is a two-person tub made of rocks covered by mineral deposits.

The slightly opaque water has metallic smell and tastes good like salt soup.

Hot Tub

The water temperature is perfect for soaking around 109 degrees F.

Bubbling near the water outlet, carbonation goes flat, which proves the super freshness.

Considering the small size of the tub, the water input is enough for keeping it clean.

Water Outlet1

Looking down the floor, there are some dead bugs.

The place is indeed the opposite of the word, “beautiful” or “accomplished.”

However, great mineral water is provided in a great condition, which let visitors be eager to clean the run-down-looking bathhouse.

Water Outlet2

In the changing room, you will find a donation box with just “Pleasure” written on it.

How modest it is!

No one impose the fee, but donation is recommended for maintaining the facility.

Donation Box

Perhaps surprisingly, I believe that this humble shack embodies the real hospitality.

Even with the highest-quality service, it is impossible to create comfortable atmosphere, if a host takes it for granted that guests will satisfy it.

Conversely, it is impossible to reach the satisfaction if a guest takes it for granted that he will receive the highest-quality service just because he is a guest.

The real hospitality will be a sense of unity that a host and a guest create together.

It is exactly the spirit of Japanese art of tea ceremony.

Note: this bathhouse opens to the public by courtesy of the owner of a grilled meat restaurant: Ryozanpaku in Hakodate.

Banjaku Sanso, Banjaku Onsen, Yakumo-cho, Hokkaido, Japan
Rating[4/5]
Walk-inYES (24 hours)
LodgingNO
Official WebsiteNO

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Ken Springfield