Public Onsen Bathhouse Reopens in Ishikawa Pref. Hot Spring Resort Wakura Onsen After Months of Closure from Jan. 1 Earthquake

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A noren fabric divider is hung at the entrance of the Soyu public onsen bathhouse in the hot spring resort Wakura Onsen in Nanao, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Tuesday.

NANAO, Ishikawa — A public bath reopened for business on Tuesday at the Wakura Onsen hot spring resort in Nanao, Ishikawa Prefecture, which was hit hard by the Noto Peninsula Earthquake.

The reopening of the Soyu public bath was welcomed by people associated with Wakura Onsen as a step towards reconstruction from the Jan. 1 quake. All 22 ryokan inns in the hot spring resort remain closed.

Just before 10 a.m. on Tuesday, as a noren fabric divider was hung up at the entrance to signal it is open for business, eager regulars began to enter the bathhouse one after another.

The onsen resort, which is said to have opened 1,200 years ago, used to attract about 900,000 visitors annually before the COVID-19 pandemic. Although many buildings around the Soyu bathhouse were affected due to the earthquake, the facility itself sustained only minor damages. It was reconnected to its spring water source in February after the plumbing was repaired, and water outage was resolved this month.

For the time being, business hours for the bathing facility will be shortened to 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 8 hours less than usual.

“We’d first like the locals to heal their exhausted minds and bodies, and eventually, hope this place will be bustling with tourists again,” said Takashi Koizumi, 74, president of the bathhouse operator.