• Onsen
  • Little-KnownGoodSpots
  • SouthernArea

[Usubetsu Onsen in Setana] Day Trip Bath and Legend of Mythological Giant Can Be Enjoyed at Utopia Usubetsu

May 3rd, 2015

Usubetsu Onsen

Usubetsu Onsen (臼別温泉) is a hot spring place in Taisei, Setana town located in the northwest part of Hakodate city. A signboard is a mark along Raiden National Route (雷電国道 * National Route 229), and visitors turn and go straight for around 3 km, and the end of the road is the Usubetsu Onsen. Only Utopia Usubetsu (湯とぴあ臼別) is built. This onsen has an atmosphere such as a secret onsen in the heart of a mountain. But it is easy to access by car. Drive carefully because a gravel road sometimes is landslides. Except the Utopia Usubetsu, restraunts, cafes, souvenir shops and convenience stores are not built.

Utopia Usubetsu
Usubetsu Onsen

In 1998, Mainichi Newspapers (毎日新聞) said that the Usubetsu Onsen was one of 5 onsen (Motta Kaigan Onsen in Shimamaki, Horonai Onsen (幌内温泉 * closing) in Okushiri, Futamata Radium Onsen (二股ラジウム温泉) in Oshamanbe and Kunbetsu Onsen (薫別温泉) in Shibetsu with natural radium in Hokkaido. The the radium hot springs are expected to treat leukemia and cancer, and prevent the spread of the leukemia and the cancer.

Parent and Child Bears Shaped Rocks
Usubetsu Onsen

The Usubetsu Onsen has over 220 years history, and has been well-known as the hot spring place since Ainu period. Mr. Masumi Sugae (菅江真澄) wrote Emishi-no-Saegi (蝦夷喧辞辨) in 1789, and introduced about Legend of Mythological Giant, and . There are Otayama Shrine (太田山神社) that the Masumi Sugae visited and Parent and Child Bears Shaped Rocks (親子熊岩) near here.

Mythological Giant Story Is Written on Signboard
Setana, Usubetsu Onsen, Utopia Usubetsu

Mythological Giant (大人伝説) in Usubetsu From Emishi-no-Saegi Written by Masumi Sugae

A traveler went to onsen in Usubetsu with a herring fisherman in old days. An old man said that the traveler with unknown background must not come to this hot spring carelessly. Because he doubted the old man's talling, he brought his ear close to the mouth of the old man. The old man said that a giant lived in Usubetsu.

As for the giant, its mouth extended from ear to ear, and he was tall, and was a monster with a fierce look. He droped big trees and big rocks from a high cliff. If people take a bath, it will be dangerous.

In addition, there was the giant that took the form of common person before they knew when they took a bath in the hot spring. If they were careless, he pulled out their muscle. The old man whispered to the traveler, because such the monster lived in Usubetsu, he must never say about a giant and the death.

Otayama Shrine

Otayama Shrine (太田山神社) is in Setana town located in the northwestern part of Hakodate city. This is the shrine in connection with Mr. Enku (円空), famous sculptor of Buddhist images, and it is famous as the most dangerous shrine in Japan. Because there are a large shrine gate and a parking space along Hokkaido Route 740, I think that it is easy to find it. There are Ota Shrine (太田神社) and Enku Buddhist Temple (円空仏堂) near the large shrine gate, and there are a restroom and a parking lot besides Enku Buddhist Temple. By the way, a enshrined deity is Sarutahiko-no-mikoto (猿田彦命). Admission free. The parking lot is free of charge. Article is here

Gaol to Go to Mountains of Top Right Corner
Otayama Shrine in Setana

Day Trip Onsen

Visitors can take a day trip bath at Utopia Usubetsu.

Utopia Usubetsu

Utopia Usubetsu is a public bath founded in 1995 along a tributary river of Usubetsu River. The appearance looks like a mountain hut with a delta roof. Some camper vans often park in front of a building. An entrance fee to the bath facility is JPY 100. Visitors for bathing write down their name on a note. They close a business in a winter season (from December to mid April).

Appearance of Building
Setana, Usubetsu Onsen, Utopia Usubetsu

There are 1 open-air bath and 1 indoor bath at a large public bathhouse. The indoor bath surrounded by rocks is the size that about 4 people can take a bath. Although it is said the indoor bath, the bath with a roof is at outside, but a view is not good.

Indoor Bath Is Size That About 4 People Take Bath
Setana, Usubetsu Onsen, Utopia Usubetsu

The open-air bath surrounded by rocks is the size that about 4 people can take a bath. Although the open-air baths are gender segregated, the open-air baths for men or women are linked with each other at a resting place, so it may be said that those are semi-gender segregated open-air bath. Above all, a view from the open-air bath is amazing. It has an atmosphere that the creature of legend might really appear. A sense of openness can be felt very much.

One Bathtub Is Divided into Four by Partitioning
Setana, Usubetsu Onsen, Utopia Usubetsu
After Looking upon Sky, There Is Valley
Setana, Usubetsu Onsen, Utopia Usubetsu
Slightly Opaque Hot Springs
Setana, Usubetsu Onsen, Utopia Usubetsu

I took a bath while talking with 75-years-old local man. Here used to be a accommodation called "Inn of Lamp (ランプの宿)", and they discontinued their business, and this facility seemed to make use of bathtub facilities in old days. A bathing seemed to be possible for 24 hours. But this facility become entirely dark in the evening without a lighting, so bathers must light. In addition, this hot spring became too much popular recently, and a lot of the bathers visited here, and he seemed to return home without taking a bath. He said "I did not mind because I could take a bath every day". He is a man of integrity very much.

Hot Spring Ingredients Precipitated on Rock
Setana, Usubetsu Onsen, Utopia Usubetsu
View from Open-air Bath
Setana, Usubetsu Onsen, Utopia Usubetsu

The hot springs are sodium and calcium chloride sulfate spring, and are opaque and colorless and have salty taste and no smell. The sum total of the hot spring ingredients are 3.616 g/kg. A plastic cup is provided on a stone, so the hot springs are drinkable. When I drank the hot springs, it was mysterious taste such as soup. I like it. Shampoos and body soaps are not provided at the bathhouse. The bathers must bring those. A restroom (Japanese style toilet) is installed at a dressing room.

Hot Springs Are Gushing Out. Plastic Cup Is Provided
Setana, Usubetsu Onsen, Utopia Usubetsu
Dressing Room Is Size That About 5 People Can Enter
Setana, Usubetsu Onsen, Utopia Usubetsu

Atmosphere of Usubetsu Onsen Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Usubetsu Onsen

Types of Hot Springs Sodium and calcium chloride sulfate spring (Type: Neutral, Osmotic Pressure: Low, Spring Temperature Type: Extra hot spring)
Water temperature of Hot Spring Source 51.8 C
ph 6.5
Indications Neuralgia, Muscular pain, Arthralgia, Frozen shoulder, Motor paralysis, Tightening of the joint, Bruise, Chronic digestive diseases, Hemorrhoid, Cold sensitivity, Convalescent convalescence, Relieving fatigue, Healthy increase, Chronic skin diseases, Cut, Burn, Chronic women's diseases, Weak child, Arteriosclerosis
Contraindications Acute disease(when there is the heat in particular), Active tuberculosis, Malignant tumor, Severe heart disease, Respiratory failure, Renal insufficiency, Hemorrhagic disease, High anemia, Other diseases during condition of a patient progress generally
Indications of drinking Chronic digestive diseases, Chronic constipation, Chronic cholecystitis, Cholelithiasis, Obesity disease, Diabetes, Gout
Contraindications of drinking Kidney disease, High blood pressure, Diarrhea and diseases accompanied by edema in general
Facilities Open-air bath(1), Indoor bath(1). * Sex-Segregated Bathhouse.
Entrance fee to the bath facility JPY 100
Business hours 07:00-19:00 * Bathers Seems to take a bath for 24 hours
Regular closing day From November to mid April
Parking lot A free parking is provided (30 cars)
Telephone number +81-1398-4-5511
Home page Home page is here
Mapcode 718 815 229*20

List of Accommodations

Refer to following websites for the accommodations around Usubetsu Onsen. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.


A page of Secret Onsen of Hokkaido is here

Secret Onsen of Hokkaido