Gifu: Gero hot spring resort’s ‘fountain pool’ becomes available only for foot bathing

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The “fountain pool” in the Gero hot spring resort in Gero, Gifu Prefecture, with a sign stating the pool is now a foot bath only.

GERO, Gifu — The “fountain pool” — a famous spot in the Gero hot spring resort in Gero, Gifu Prefecture — is open once again, though only for foot bathing.

Anyone in a bathing suit used to be able to bathe for free in the pool on the banks of the Hida River that runs through the resort, but the city decided to change the policy due to complaints from residents and tourists about bathing manners.

The fountain pool was established in 1983 to allow tourists and others to enjoy casual hot spring bathing. Although the pool was frequently submerged by heavy rains or had sediment washed in, its operation continued, changing locations and scale. Beginning in February 2010, anyone who wanted to enjoy bathing in the pool was required to wear a swimsuit.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Yoriko Shima checks hot spring water that was delivered to her.

The city government decided to change how it operates the pool after receiving complaints of rule violations, photos being taken and the way people bathed. The change was made in consideration of the surrounding scenery as well.

“I’m sorry to impose the change, but there was some conduct that was no longer in step with the times,” Gero Mayor Noboru Yamauchi said. “I hope many people will enjoy foot bathing there as a place where they can casually stop in.”

Delivery of hot spring water

A council of welfare and childcare officers in the city’s Maze district delivered hot spring water Nov. 28 to 13 elderly citizens living alone in the district, to help them enjoy the feeling of a resort at home amid the wintry cold.

Twice a year — in May and late November — the council delivers hot spring water to elderly people who live alone and have no means of transportation, while checking in on their living conditions at the same time.

The delivery was the first in a year since the project, which began before the city was formed in 2004 by the merger of four towns and a village, was suspended in May due to the declaration of a state of emergency over the pandemic.

Eleven people, including welfare officers, filled a tank in the back of a light truck with hot spring water that was over 50 C at a hot spring water station at the Maze Miki no Sato roadside rest area and delivered it to the bathtubs of people who wanted to enjoy the hot water.

“I can’t get to a hot spring because of leg problems,” said Yoriko Shima, 83, of the city’s Mazekaore district. “I want to enjoy a hot spring bath at least twice.”