So after falling in love with Horita, I decided to head back that way and look for the elusive Mugen no Sato (Friends recommended it as the "best onsen in Beppu). I got up off the main road and followed my map and was in the exact right spot, but I swear the road in front of me could not hold a bicycle, let alone my car. It was dark and I doubted my map-reading skills.
So Jude and I headed homeward. On the way, we stopped at Hotel Oishi.
After paying at the front desk, you go back outside and head next door. There you follow a yellow painted line under the building. It's like a fallout shelter, but with cute grade school kids' drawings on the wall. When you finally emerge a few hundred feet later, you're in a weird late 60s style series of outdoor baths that look like the set from Planet of the Apes. Lots of cement boondoggles here: man-made caves. And they call them cave spas. It was neat until I got in too far and found old leaves and mosquitoes in the corner. So we got out and went into another bath. It was slippery (the signs claim that it was from the mnerals in the water, but I doubt that) and there were pipes and valves in the tub. Had to be careful not to stub your toes. Jude liked running around and getting into one bath and out and into another. And the water was a nice temperature. The hotelman was a nice guy that led us thru the bunker into the Planet of the Apes caves but I must say I don't recommend this place.
Better try to find Mugen no Sato tomorrow