Hot Spring and History
Hot Spring Types in Noboribetsu
Sulfur springs are milky-white in color, feature a peculiar smell and make it tough to produce lather with soap. Sulfur spring waters are known to helo ease chronic bronchitis, hardening of the arteries and chronic dermatitis.
Salt springs are the most common type of hot spring in Japan and they are colorless, taste salty and make it almost impossible to produce a lather with soap. These springs are also known as ‘‘Netsu-no-yu’’ (or springs of heat) because they retain heat quite well. Salt spring waters are known to help ease neuralgia, lower back pain and poor circulation.
Aluminum springs are most often found in volcano zone. They are known to tighten the skin and mucous membranes, which helps ease symptoms of chronic skin disease, inflammation of the mucous membranes, athlete’s foot and hives.
Mirabilite springs are a type of sulfate spring that is colorless and salty tasting. Mirabilite spring waters contain sodium which improves blood flow and in the process ease the effects of hypertension, wounds and arteriosclerosis.
The negative ions in melanterite springs consist mainly of sulfuric acid ions, while the positive ions contain mainly iron ions. When exposed to air, melanterite springs oxideze and turn to a copper color. Highly acidic, melanterite spring waters also contain large amounts of minerals such as copper and manganese, and help to ease the effectsa of anemia and chronic eczema.
Iron springs contain more than 20mg of iron ion per 1kg of water, which when exposed to air oxidizes and turns a reddish color. make your towel reddish in color. Known for heating up the body quite well and sometimes metallic taste, iron springs help ease symotoms of anemia and chronic eczema.
Acidic Iron spring
Acidic springs have a pH of less than 3 and can sometimes irritate your skin. Acidic spring waters are known to help ease eczema symptoms because of its poweful disinfecting action. People with sensitive skin should wash their body with regular water after the bath.
The negative ion s in alkaline springs consist mainly of hydrogen carbonate ions, while the postive ions include minly sodium ions. Alkaline springs are also known as ‘Bijin-no-yu’ (or hotspring for beauty) because they helo soften connified layers of the skin and emulsify secretions, which eases skin conditions and sanitizes wounds.
Radium springs, which typically contain thoron or radon, have been known since ancient times to ease a wide range of ailments. Radiium spring waters have a strong sedative effect, and so are particularly effective at easing neuralgia, rheumatism and menopausal disorders.
History of Noboribesu Onsen
Etymology of Noboribetsu
It is said that the name ‘Noboribetsu’ comes from an Ainu word ” Nupurupetsu”, meaning: ” The white, muddy river” or ” The thick colored river”. We can imagine ancient times when the river color was changed by the abundant flowing up of the hot springs.
Moreover, the name of the river that flows next to the onsen street comes from the Ainu word “Kusurisampetsu”, meaning: “Medicated hot water that flows to the ocean”. “Kusuri” is “hot spring2 in Ainu. The Ainu people also seem to have found the hot spring useful as a health treatment since ancient times.
Noboribetsu as a hot spring resort
In 1845, Takeshiro Matsuura, the godfather of Hokkaido, also visited Noboribetsu Onsen, and wrote a commemorative charm. At that time there was no road, so Omi’s merchant Hanbei Okada started excavation of a road in 1875. Afterwards, Kinzo Takimoto, who is known as the father of the hot spring cure, built the first onsen hotel, created the new present day road, and built the present base for the onsen. Moreover, mining of sulfur, a by-product of the onsen, came to be added to the aegis policy.
Development of Noboribetsu Onsen
Later on, Noboribetsu was designated as a health resort for injured soldiers of the Russo-Japanese War. Many Ryokans (Japanese-style inns) and souvenir shops were built and the base of the onsen street we can see today was formed.
A further improvment was later done in respect to traffic as foot and wagon travel by road was replaced by rail. In 1915, the first railways were built and wagons began to run on the tracks. In 1918, Steam locomotives were introduced, and in 1925 electric trains began to be used.
Because the trains and private homes received their supply of electricity from the same power plant, it is said that when a great number of people took the train, the house lights would flicker. At these times residents would know that: “Many visitors have come today”.
In this wat the number of people visiting Noboribetsu onsen has continued to increase, and Noboribetsu onsen has developed along with them.
The onsens naturally produce 10,000t of hot water per day, The fountain temperatures rise as high as 45 to 90 ℃., and 9 different kinds of onsen water are produced.
This is so unique in the world that the area has been nicknamed a “hot spring paradise”.
Since ancient times the onsen waters have been used as a therapeutic bath to cure disease and injury, and in recent years, many people are realizing their benefits and those in good health are enjoying onsen for refreshment of mind and body.