Seapa Makoto onsen and restaurant is located next to picturesque Kashima port overlooking the island of Kashima, a big blob of mountain just off the coast in the Seto Inland Sea. The onsen sits on the seawall just above the beach at Hojo, offering a splendid view of the sea from its outdoor terrace baths.
The indoor section of Seapa features a large rectangular bath. If you climb in and splash water on your face, you quickly become aware that the water is salty. Given the name ‘Seapa’, you could be forgiven for thinking that this is heated seawater, but you’d be wrong. In fact, the water is from a naturally salty spring 650 m underground. This is the only saline onsen water that I’ve encountered anywhere, and it’s rather pleasant to have salty lips in the bath. The water is considered beneficial for skin injuries and problem skin. Not only does Seapa boast salty water, it also uses a nanotechnology electron wave water treatment process to enhance the moisturizing and cleansing properties of the water.
Indoors you’ll find shower stalls, a sauna room, and two kinds of massaging water jet baths. The one that squirts bubbles between your shoulder blades feels particularly good.
The outdoor bath (rotenburo), a freshwater bath with fancy stonework, offers a sweeping view of the Seto Inland Sea with the Hojo beach and the hulking Kashima Island. It’s a joy to disport oneself in one’s nudity with this glorious panorama in front you, and the large dome of the sky above. The modesty of bathers is protected somewhat by a ledge and fences, but gentleman should be advised that they can be seen from a distance. Ladies needn’t worry on that score. I know because of I’ve checked. The rotenburo is open in all weather. I like to go when it’s stormy, when gray clouds are scudding across the sea, and ships are bucking in the high waves. The port is home to buzzards, herons and various seabirds, and you can see them wheeling in the sky at close range above you as you soak.
There are two restaurants, one downstairs serving a range of noodle and donburi dishes, and one upstairs offering a menu based on locally available fish, such as taimeshi.
Besides the public baths, Seapa offers several relaxation rooms with their own bath. These are available for families, couples and groups, for hire in 90 minute blocks. They can also be booked as accommodation. The menu of relaxation is rounded out with several massage and aromatherapy options.
Seapa is close to a number of pleasant beaches, as well as Kashima Island. A car is really necessary for access.