Kawayu Spa (川湯溫泉) is a Japanese style hot spring near Beitou and Yangmingshan National Park. It’s one of the premier ones in Taipei, and is popular both with locals and Asian tourists. The complex itself looks like something you would find in rural Japan. The name itself, Kawayu, actually means ‘river water’ in Japanese and its architecture is clearly meant to feel like a time warp to old Japan.
There are three types of spring water to relax your body in; sulphur baths, mineral baths and radium baths. The sulphur baths are milk colored and cloudy, and are actually said to only be available in Yangmingshan. The radium spring can help to relax muscles and bones and is almost transparent, with a slight green hue. The mineral spring is clear, and contains iron that helps to alleviate a variety of aches and pains. All in all, a great thing to do after hiking!
The public baths are divided between men and women, and guests do not wear swimsuits. There are a variety of facilities, such as big outdoors baths, steam rooms and massage rooms. Private baths are available for those that would prefer privacy. There are also a few restaurants attached to the bath houses, which offer traditional Japanese and Taiwanese meals.
How to get there
Kawayu Spa can be reached from the bus stop near KFC and exit 1 of Taipei Metro’s Shipai Station. Take bus number 508, 536 or 8 to Xingyi Road Stop 3 (15 minutes, NT$15). From the bus stop walk up a little, and take a right down Lane 300 (you should see signs from here to the spa area). Look out for the Chinese characters (川湯) if you get lost.
If coming from or going to Yangmingshan National Park, you can take the S8 bus that goes to and from the main bus terminal there (1 hour, NT$15).
Hours and fees
Hours: 6am to 3am
Admission: NT$200 (free if you spend NT$400 or more at the restaurant)