[Travel in Japan] Healing by Radium Hot Spring in Kagoshima

Seek extreme relaxation and healing in Japan? You may consider visiting Sarugajyo Radium Onsen in Kagoshima when you come to Japan.

This article tells you what is good for you about radium hot spring, how to get and stay there and add more valuable experience to your visit to Japan.

Try radium hot springs in Sarugajyo

Sarugajyo is located in Kagoshima prefecutre which is at the south edge of Kyushu island. It is in the Tarumizu city which is the other side of the famous Sakurajima volcano from the capital Kagoshima city.


Though there are a lot of nice hot springs (Onsen in Japanese) in Kagoshima, Sarugajyo Onsen is quite different from any other Onsen there because it features radium in its spring quality.

Radium hot springs are rare and known for its mysterious efficacy.

Mysterious efficacy of radium hot spring


According to the displayed effiicacy at Sarugajyo Onsen below, the hot springs quality has 621 Becquerel/Kg radium. It also says, if it is greater than 111 Becquerel/Kg radium, it has medical efficacy. 

We know radioan is something bad for human body, but trace amount of radiation can be used for therapy


The displayed efficacy also tells this radium hot springs can heal a number of medial problems. The 3 main such problems are gout, rheumatism and high blood pressure.

There might not be enough medical evidence but as far as I took a bath in the radium hot springs, I felt it is different from other hot springs. It kept me my body warm longer than any other usual hot springs and I felt good and easy for a while.

How to take a bath at Sarugajyo Radium Onsen

Because of the radiation effect, there is a rule to take a bath at Sarugajyo radium hot springs. You are advised to follow this rule to avoid overdose.

  • 5 minutes in the bath, 10 minutes break outside the bath and 5 minutes in the bath
  • 2 times at the maximum per day for this bath-break-bath cycle

Other than this rule, everything is the same as other usual Onsen in terms of how to take a bath in Japanese Onsen.

Access to Sarugajyo

Getting Sarugajyo is not easy unfortunately in particular for foreigners. But if you are interested, here is how to get there.

First, come and visit Kagoshima city the center of Kagoshima prefecture. There are a number of scheduled flights from various major cities like Tokyo and Osaka. From Tokyo, it is approximately 2 hours flight. Kagoshima airport is an international airport that has direct flight from asian cities such as Taipei and Hong Kong. 

From Kagoshima city, you can take ferry boat to Tarumizu departing from the Kamoike port. But unfortunately there is no public transportation from Tarumizu to Sarugajyo. So the best way is to rent a car in Kagoshima city and get on the ferry boat with the car. From the Tarumizu port, it is 15 mins drive away to Sarugajyo. It is not recommended to walk because Sarugajyo is in the deep mountain valley.

Sarugajyo has its own cottage type of accommodation, but it is not an hotel and you have to cook meals for yourself. So I always stay in a hotel called HOTEL AZ in Tarumizu below that offers nice room at the reasonable price (around US$50 per person per night). You can also find a lot of nice restaurants in Tarumizu area like this. 


The hotel I stay every time I visit Sarugajyo is HOTEL AZ TARUMIZU. You can find and book a room here through Rakuten Travel agency.


Also, there are some hotels listed in Booking.com for Tarumizu area.

Sarugajyo Onsen has its own website. But as you see, there is no English page. You may use things like Google Translator to see them in English.

Sarugajyo Onsen

Public bath costs only 390 yen (US$4) for weekdays and 490 yen (US$5) for weekend. It also has private bath which costs 1350 yen for weekdays and 1500 yen for weekend for 50 mins.

Sarugajyo is not an easy place to visit but gives you very unique hot springs experience. If you are an Onsen mania, why not?