Nestled deep inside a valley in the far north of Kumamoto sits the steaming town of Tsuetate Onsen, an ancient pocket of Japan seemingly frozen in time.
Home to a history that goes back 1,800 years, Tsuetate Onsen was once known as ‘Kyushu’s inner sanctum’ in a previous life it boasted a bustling luxury travel economy. A spot where the wealthy came to wash away their worries, this high-society history of the town is still visible, although a little tired, but that’s part of its charm. Take a walk through the town’s backstreets known in Japanese as sedoyas and you’ll find photos of the glory days hung along the building walls like a public Showa-era gallery.
Home to a number of festive celebrations throughout the year, it’s a great place to pop by in January for the fire festival or the colorful carp streamer festival in April and May.
Event: Jan 14, 2018, is the Tsuetate Onsen Dondoya Fire Festival.
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