Myoban onsen is an area up in the north of Beppu up on a hillside.
We visited Yu no Sato, which was a lovely outdoor onsen on the hill with great views over Beppu to the sea. Unfortunately the views are only accessible if you stand up and look over the fence at the washing area, not actually from the bath. Also, the washing area is outside as well as the bath and only taps + tubs available, not shower heads, so this can make for a chilly wash. Stunning azalea garden outside if you are there at the right time of year. Quite a strong sulfur smell, as a lot of sulfur is harvested from this area, but not unbearable as the bath is slightly removed. Nice with milky water due to high mineral content (very alkaline water). Overall a lovely experience, especially if you took the time to enjoy the view.
The second onsen we visited in the Myoban area was Onsen Hoyoland, which is famous for its mud bath. This was probably the highlight of our trip. Beware that the bathing is mixed, so for ladies you can enter the water (which is all milky due to the mud content) from an enclosed area and then scoot around the open while staying submerged if you are worried about modesty. Once you are there you will see men but can't actually come into physical contact due to a wooden barrier between the male/female sections.
There is, however a second bath, removed from the first, which was recommended to me by the woman at the reception desk for its superior mud quality. To get there, one must walk along the path around the bath, which is a mixed area. Knowing we would probably never come again, we made this daring journey with our skimpy modesty towels and were indeed rewarded at the second bath - far more mud (rather than muddy water), warmer termperature, far less crowded and less prying eyes. Again it is mixed bathing with barrier between, but less people come there so not such a problem.
At 1050yen, this may seem like an expensive and daunting experience for some, but to us it was well worth it. The bath is not too hot, so we were able to stay in for a very long time, and our skin felt fantastic afterwards. But it was the novelty of this unique experience that really made it. Highly recommended
Myoban is a little difficult to get to from the main city of Beppu without a car, but is well worth the effort to experience some unique onsen away from the crowds and the hustle and bustle of the city.
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