Popular radium spa draws many visitors, and cormorant fishing masters can be seen in traditional caps and straw skirts.
The Chikugo-gawa-onsen Hot Spring in the southwestern part of Fukuoka is situated near a mid-stream section of the Chikugo-gawa River, which runs through the Chikushi Plain and pours into the Sea of Ariake. The spa together with the Minou Mountain Range and the primeval box tree forests of Mt. Kosho-yama are part of the Chikugo-gawa River Prefectural Nature Park.
The Chikugo-gawa-onsen Hot Spring, which opened in 1955, is a new hot spring resort. Its hot water, containing radium, a rarity in Japan, is reportedly helpful in curing neuralgia and rheumatoid diseases and attracts many spa visitors - some from far away.
Many inns in this spa resort have Japanese-style houseboats available for reservation for a cruise on the Chikugo-gawa River. From spring to fall, traditional cormorant fishing, which dates back 1,200 years, is performed on this river. Masters wearing a traditional black fold-back cap called "Kazaori Eboshi" and a straw skirt aboard a boat lit with torches keep a few fish-catching cormorants under their skillful control. People on hired houseboats watch cormorants catch sweetfish under the light of torches, which is reflected on the water. Cormorant fishing is performed in those parts of the river near the Harazuru-onsen and the Yoshii-onsen hot springs. Another spectacle is the grand Chikugo-gawa River Fireworks Display held in August every year.
[Air] 1h 45 min from Haneda to Fukuoka Airport, and 5 min from the airport to Hakata Station by subway.
[Rail] 4h 50 min from Tokyo to Hakata Station by JR Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line. 30 min from Hakata to Kurume Station by JR Kagoshima Line (limited express), and 1h 20 min from Kurume to Chikugo-gawa Eigyo-sho by bus.
[Air] 1h 15 min from Itami to Fukuoka Airport.
[Rail] 2h 20 min from Shin-Osaka to Hakata Station by Shinkansen.