A Lovely Hot Spring Town by the Sea
Obama Onsen is a tranquil hot spring resort area in Nagasaki's Shimabara Peninsula. Stretching along the coast of Tachibana Bay, it offers beautiful sunset views and some of the hottest and most active hot springs in Japan. The town is literally billowing with steam coming out of vents and pipes along the streets and the smell of sulfur fills the air.
One of the main attractions of Obama Onsen is Hot Foot 105, the longest foot bath in Japan. The ‘105' refers both to its length and to the temperature of its water.
The foot bath is free to use and a perfect spot to relax after a day of walking. Its location right in front of the shore allows visitors to enjoy the beautiful sea view while soaking their feet.
Near the foot bath are the mushigama, stone steamers where you can cook your own food over the natural hot spring steam. You can buy any food you want from the local supermarket and borrow a cooking basket from the nearby hut to cook it.
The many hotels and onsen facilities around town offer all kinds of hot spas. At the tourist information center, you can purchase a collective ticket that will allow you entrance to two hot springs and two outdoor baths.
But not all springs in Obama are hot. The famous “carbonated spring" is Obama's only cold spring. It contains high quantities of iron and carbonic acid and its temperature is 21°C.
While taking a stroll around the quiet streets of Obama, you can pay a visit to Obama Shrine. The wooden ceiling of the main hall features a painting of a dragon.
While in this area make sure to try Obama's trademark snack: yu senpei. These round crackers are made using flour, eggs, sugar and local hot spring water, which is said to be good for the body. At Shindo Senpei Store you can see these traditional sweets being made and purchase them fresh.
Another interesting spot is the Ibotori Jizo (wart removing Jizo). People journey here to visit these Buddhist statues with the specific prayer to have warts healed.
Obama doesn't feel like a tourist resort spot. It' a small, hospitable town where locals will greet you with a smile, grateful for your visit. While it is great to visit in any season, it's especially popular in June when the purple jacaranda trees are in full bloom.