Do not let the name fool you. This onsen (hot springs) is not really as magical as its colour infused, volcanic title suggests, but it may be worth an hour or so of your time, particularly since it may be free.
Rainbow Magma Onsen
Sakurajima Magma Onsen (also called Rainbow Magma Onsen, I will explain later) is a hot springs place just a five minute walk from Sakurajima Ferry port, and features four different types of indoor springs, a sauna and free shampoo, conditioner and body wash for use. For only ¥390, you can use the springs facility for as long as you need, but if you took an Island View Bus Tour that day and can present your ticket, it is completely free. So why not finish off your day with a free soak in a natural onsen, heated by a real volcano? Lockers are available at a price of ¥100 – ¥200, size dependent; just be sure to bring a towel. These are not provided.
This all sounds like a great deal, and I personally think it is, but the facilities are considerably worn down, with certain features peculiarly roped off (possibly due to the recent eruption) and a bath with a drain that makes a ridiculously loud sucking noise every so often. The rather grubby interior might be enough to put people off, but I still had a rather enjoyable experience for one solid reason: the electric pool.
Electric Onsen Pools
I have been to many springs before and, let me tell you, while still enjoyable, this was probably the worst one yet had it not been for this. It is definitely a story to tell for years to come, quite simply because it is so bizarre.
To begin with, I had no idea that actual electricity was running through the water I was currently sitting in and I only really became aware of it when one of my hands developed pins and needles. I had not thought much of it, since I get random pins and needles all the time but, needless-to-say, I had been moving my hand through the electric current and back out again without realising. Once I had noticed, of course I plunged my whole body into the current (which I am not sure is particularly healthy), followed by body part after body part to examine the feeling. To my great amusement, the current of the springs caused the muscles in my hand and arm to contract involuntarily, causing both to curl up and then release as I exited the current. I am still not sure if I enjoyed the sensation, but it was definitely a fun, new experience – one that I would recommend if you are 100% fit and healthy, and have no conflicting medical conditions.
Standard Onsen Baths
The other three baths are a little more standard, with one cold ‘plunge’ bath, a volcanic heated onsen featuring the electric pool, and a rather strange reddish-brown coloured bath that smelled like rust. Safe to say, I was not too keen on the rusty bath, but I am sure it infused my body with some good minerals.
Sakurajima’s Seven Colors
As for the mysterious name of the place, it is said that, from Kagoshima, Sakurajima has nanairo (seven colours) at various times of the day. And, of course, since Sakurajima is an active volcano containing precious magma, one can only assume that this is how the hot springs received its name. Unfortunately, there are no rainbow waters here, but it is volcanically heated, with a fairly average view of some mountains. But, since condensation naturally clouds the windows, it may be a little difficult to see sometimes.
Etiquette for Sakurajima’s Magma Onsen
As with all Japanese hot springs, you are required to be naked, and also to take your shoes off at the door. It is separated into male and female areas, so be sure to enter through the pink curtain. Sakurajima Magma Onsen itself was pretty empty except for a few elderly people and, while the attendants at the door did not speak any English, they were very welcoming.
It is not too far from the ferry port and it could be free, so why not give it a shot?
|Name||Sakurajima Magma Onsen|
|Address||1722-16 Sakurajimayokoyamacho, Kagoshima 891-1419, Kagoshima Prefecture|
|Access||[map]1722-16 Sakurajimayokoyamacho, Kagoshima 891-1419, Kagoshima Prefecture[/map]|
|Opening Hours||10:00 - 22:00 (13:00 - 22:00 on Wednesdays)|
|Price Range||Free (with a valid Island View Bus Tour ticket) or ¥390|