Etymology of Noboribetsu
It is said that the name ‘Noboribetsu’ comes from an Ainu word ” Nupurupetsu”, meaning: ” The white, muddy river” or ” The thick colored river”. We can imagine ancient times when the river color was changed by the abundant flowing up of the hot springs.
Moreover, the name of the river that flows next to the onsen street comes from the Ainu word “Kusurisampetsu”, meaning: “Medicated hot water that flows to the ocean”. “Kusuri” is “hot spring2 in Ainu. The Ainu people also seem to have found the hot spring useful as a health treatment since ancient times.
Noboribetsu as a hot spring resort
In 1845, Takeshiro Matsuura, the godfather of Hokkaido, also visited Noboribetsu Onsen, and wrote a commemorative charm. At that time there was no road, so Omi’s merchant Hanbei Okada started excavation of a road in 1875. Afterwards, Kinzo Takimoto, who is known as the father of the hot spring cure, built the first onsen hotel, created the new present day road, and built the present base for the onsen. Moreover, mining of sulfur, a by-product of the onsen, came to be added to the aegis policy.