This is one of the most unusual hot springs in the country.

With so many active volcanoes scattered across the country, Japan is home to thousands of natural onsen hot springs. Bathers here can enjoy soaking in a huge variety of different onsen, including amusement park versions and Michelin-starred types, but now there’s a new discovery circulating online that’s got everyone’s attention.

This particular onsen, located in Fukuoka on the southern island of Kyushu, is making news around the country for its unusual operating system, which people are likening to the famous hot tub scene in the Studio Ghibli anime feature film Spirited Away.

One lucky bather, who goes by the name @RiLze04 on Twitter, shared this video of the onsen being used online, and since then the tweet has received almost 4 million views. Take a look at the clip below:

As anyone who’s been to a Japanese onsen will know, this is not a common way to take a bath. Usually, the water is already in the tub, so all visitors have to do is step into the water and soak their cares away. Here, though, bathers are required to put a wooden tag into a wooden receptacle to fill the tub with onsen water.

▼ Tag in…

▼ Water out.

This system is very similar to the one seen in Spirited Away, where Sen and Lin (Rin) use a tag from the foreman to connect up the bathwater and fill the tub at the magical bathhouse. Although Sen has to yank a rope to make the water come out in the movie, the use of the wooden tag and the gush of water that flows out into the tub is remarkably similar to the bathwater operation at the Fukuoka bathhouse.

People on Twitter were quick to heap praise on the unusual bathing system, with many putting the onsen on their bucket list for future travels. The large majority of commenters, who never knew this system existed in real life, remarked on how similar the clip was to the scene in Spirited Away. One Twitter user even posted this image of the sludge-infested River God who gets to enjoy the bath made by Sen and Lin in the movie.

Whether you’re a River God in need of a good clean or a weary traveller looking for a magical way to enjoy a relaxing soak, Wakasugi no Yu is definitely a destination worth travelling to. And while you’re in Fukuoka, you might want to keep an eye out for the animated commercials advertising the local Slow Bread, which are exclusive to the region and created by one of Studio Ghibli’s key animators.

Onsen Information
Wakasugi no Yu / 若杉の湯
Address: Fukuoka-ken, Kasuya-gun, Sasaguri Wakasugi 679
Hours: 10:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. (Closed Thursdays)
Website (Japanese)

Source: Otakomu
Featured image: Twitter/@RiLze04