A place of relaxation, easily accessible from the heart of Sendai City. This is Akiu Onsen. Also known as "Sendai's Inner Parlor", it was loved by the region's most famous historical leader, Date Masamune. Together with Iizaka Onsen in Fukushima and Naruko Onsen, also located in Miyagi, it makes up one-third of what is known as Oshu's three famous hot springs where even now, large numbers of people come looking to rest and unwind in its relaxing baths.
In the same area, you can also find Rairaikyo Gorge with its unique scenery of distinctive rock formations, as well as the magnificent Akiu Great Falls, one of Japan's three greatest waterfalls. Meaning that not only will you be able to go around the various hot springs, but you can also go around and enjoy the picturesque scenery this place has to offer.
Akiu Great Falls
Traditional Akiu Kokeshi Doll
The History of Akiu Onsen
It is unknown when the springs first came to be, but there is a theory that says it was already in existence since the Kofun Period (300-538 AD). Even with records that exist, it has an impressive history that goes all the way back to the 1400s. The emperor of that time was ailing from a skin illness and though he tried every possible treatment available, all of the hot springs he visited gave him no results. However, after hearing about the healing properties of Akiu Onsen, he had some of its water transported to the capital, and when he took a bath in it he was immediately cured. The emperor took the joy he felt and turned it into a song, and the origin of it is carved into a stone that has been placed in the hot spring district. Thereafter, Akiu Onsen rose up in rank and became one of the Imperial Household's royal hot springs and was given the honorable title of "Onsen"Afterward, this region was used by its ruler, Date Masamune, as his bathing spot. Thereafter, lodgings were built around the springs and the area grew and prospered. After the 20th century, railroads were constructed in order to mine and transport a type of crag called "Akiu Ishi" which is used in construction and architecture. After the war, this railway played a large role in transportation for onsen guests leading to the large growth of visitors that came to the area. In 1961, that railroad, named "Akiu Railway", was discontinued. However, Akiu Onsen continues to develop even more as this hot spring town’s modern hotel resort, becoming famous nationwide and attracting an abundant number of visitors.
The Characteristics and Spring Quality of Akiu Onsen
Akiu Onsen is a chloride type spring.
With salt similar in the component to that of seawater, even after bathing, the salt on your skin controls the evaporation of sweat resulting in better heat retention for your body. It is bathing water most ideal for the elderly and those recovering from illnesses.
- Spring quality
- Mild saline spring sodium-calcium - Chloride Spring: hypotonic neutral high-temperature spring
- attaining beautiful skin, cuts, burns, chronic skin diseases, children with weak dispositions, female illnesses, over-sensitivity to cold, arthritis, nerve pain, muscle pain, sore joints, stiff shoulders, motor paralysis, bruises, sprains, chronic digestive disorders, those recovering from illnesses, fatigue, improvement of health and so on.
How to bathe in Akiu Onsen
The best bathing method
- Kakeyu (the act of pouring the spring water on your body before entering the spring.)
In order to accustom your body to the temperature of the water, you first do kakeyu.
- Half-body Soak
Next, get the lower half of your body used to the water, then gradually soak your entire body.
- Wash Your Body
It is most effective to wash your body once you're already all warmed up from the bath. The pores have already opened up with the dirt coming to the surface, making it easier to wash them away.
- Bathing in the Spring
Stay in the spring until your forehead and nose begin to sweat.
- After Bathing
It is recommended not to shower after bathing in the springs, as doing so will wash away all the medicinal properties from your skin.
Your body will have become dehydrated from sweating, so it is important that you drink plenty of water to rehydrate.
- Rest Well
Because you will have used up energy and your blood pressure will have fluctuated while in the hot spring, rest for 30 minutes until your physical condition has stabilized.