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Beachy volcanic sand baths in Kyushu? Hell yes! 🏖️🌋

Ibusuki is a quaint onsen town tucked away at the southern tip of the Satsuma Peninsula in the Kyushu region, making it a convenient day trip from Kagoshima City. The most interesting attraction here is sand bathing where you’ll be buried up to the neck in sand that is naturally heated by hot spring water underneath the beach.

Ibusuki in Kagoshima, Japan.

Steam rising from volcanic sand in Ibusuki.

Sand bathing is intended to be relaxing, but it is also said to detoxify the body and refresh the skin. This makes it a popular beauty treatment with Japanese tourists, as well as a novel experience for foreign visitors. Several facilities dotting the town’s seafront offer sand baths.

How sand bathing works

Dressed in light yukata (lightweight cotton kimono), guests are invited to lie down on a secluded section of the beach. A small towel is wrapped around your head as a barrier between you and your pillow of sand, keeping your hair and face clean. Attentive staff members then proceed to cover you in the area’s distinctive hot, dark grey sand.

sandbathing in Ibusuki in Kagoshima Japan

Photo by: m_sarai_i Close your eyes and relax.

It might feel strange at first, but the weight of the sand is surprisingly comfortable and the heat radiating up from below is incredibly relaxing. Lying in your sand cocoon and listening to the gentle ocean waves lapping at the shore just beyond your feet, you can feel your body melting into the beach. Close your eyes and it’s easy to find yourself dozing off.

…listening to the gentle ocean waves lapping at the shore just beyond your feet, you can feel your body melting into the beach.

After the first five minutes, the attendants offer to pile more sand on top of you. This gives you the option to increase both the weight and the temperature if you feel up to it.

The recommended time limit for sand bathing is 10 to 20 minutes. Afterward, you take a shower to rinse off the sand and then head into the hot springs inside for a double dose of relaxation.

In the area


Mt. Kaimon seen from Nagasakibana Cape in Ibusuki.

The sand baths are one draw to Ibusuki, but you can also enjoy souvenir shopping and visiting the Satsuma Denshokan Museum (Map). Mount Kaimon is about half an hour away by train, so if you want to really earn your relaxation time you could always get in a few hours of hiking first. While you’re in the area, don’t forget to try one of these local dishes from Kagoshima.

Things To Know


The typical cost for a trip to a sand bath is around ¥1,000. If you can, bring your own towel to dry off with after using the onsen and you’ll save a couple of hundred yen on renting one.

How To Get There


1 Chome-1-1 Yunohama, Ibusuki-shi, Kagoshima-ken 891-0406, Japan

By train

Take the JR Ibusuki Makurazaki line from Kagoshima-Chuo to Ibusuki Station (70 minutes). The sand baths are easily accessible on foot from the station.

By car

About a 1.5-hour drive from Kagoshima City.

Where To Stay

Ibusuki Onsen Hotel Shogetsu
  • 2-12-7 Yunohama, Ibusuki-shi, Kagoshima, 891-0406 Japan
  • ¥15,400 - ¥31,900
  • 4.19/5 (433 reviews)
  • 0.7 km
Ibusuki Kaijyo Hotel
  • 3750 Junicho, Ibusuki-shi, Kagoshima, 891-0403 Japan
  • ¥10,450 - ¥27,500
  • 3.95/5 (444 reviews)
  • 1.5 km
Ibusuki Phoenix Hotel
  • 4320 Junicho, Ibusuki-shi, Kagoshima, 891-0403 Japan
  • ¥8,800 - ¥44,000
  • 3.93/5 (1,155 reviews)
  • 2.1 km
Ibusuki Onsen Koran-no-Yu Kinkouroh
  • 4507 Nishikata, Ibusuki-shi, Kagoshima, 891-0311 Japan
  • ¥24,400 - ¥57,100
  • 4.17/5 (482 reviews)
  • 4.3 km

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