Torrential rain in southwestern Japan has caused devastating damage to inns at a popular hot-spring resort, just as customers had started returning from their coronavirus-induced exile, according to Kyodo News.

Amagase, one of three popular "onsen" towns in Oita Prefecture alongside Beppu and Yufuin, had been known for its natural beauty and open-air bathing pools.

But the overflowing Kusu River has left the area flooded and washed away a landmark river-spanning iron bridge following a deluge that started last Saturday and has claimed the lives of 60 people in the Kyushu region, with at least 13 others missing.

Tenryuso, a traditional inn founded in 1830, was flooded with muddy water on Tuesday and lost its pump for extracting thermal water from the riverbed hot-spring source. It is unclear whether it will be able to tap this source again.

"If we cannot get thermal water out, the business cannot survive. This is a matter of life and death," said Ryuichi Oba, the president of the inn's operator.

After cleaning up flooding debris on Tuesday morning, the facility was again swamped that evening by river water and mud from the adjacent mountain, with water levels reaching 120 centimeters, according to the inn.

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