Friday, November 4, 2016

Oita Prefecture Onsen-meisters' Association

What is “Onsen-meister”? Oita Prefecture Onsen-meister is a title given to those who pass the onsen-meister licensing exam. “Onsen” means hot springs. This exam is held by Beppu Onsen Geo-Museum twice a year, in February and in March, as part of the museum’s educating programs. This licensing program aims at spreading knowledge about onsen, and thus people in Oita Prefecture, Japan’s largest hot spring concentration, will be more informed about hot springs so that they can share merits of this rich natural resources in the prefecture with visitors. The exam covers a rather wide-ranging knowledge about hot springs including hot spring science, effects of hot springs, hot spring-related culture, and so on.


On August 7th, 2015, Oita Prefecture Onsen-meisters’ Association was formed to help onsen-meister licensees to encourage each other to acquire more information about onsen and to promote utilization of hot springs.


On the first anniversary of this association, on August 5th, 2016, a talk show was held. The participants were Professor Masaki Saito, Tokai University, Yuichi Tsuchiya, Director of NPO Yupia, and Kyoto Kitaide, a hot spring analyst and the author of an onsen book called “Doko-iko, Kyushu’s best hot spring baths”(in Japanese).


Besides their private onsen experiences, such as how they “fell in love” with onsen and how often they take onsen baths, they gave information about how to tell the differences between good hot spring baths and not so good ones, what are major differences of Beppu people’s bathing manners from those in other parts of Japan, and more.

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