Sunday, June 19, 2005

A regular old bath

We were tired and stayed home. Jude didnt seem to mind the "boring" old bathtub.


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Netsu no Yu Onsen(熱の湯温泉)

Ok, I should have been more wary of a place that calls itself "Heat Hot Spring," but we got lost looking for a different onsen and the road dumped me off int the neighborhood...
It was hot, yes! And we ran out of soap (bummer). I had enough to do Jude but I could't put him in the tub. Very hot! And slippery. All said, it was 100% free so I shouldn't complain. It was very popular with the locals, but we had to leave cuz Jude wanted to run and it was slippery in there.
Also, there was no stamp for our spaport... I wonder if someone absconded with it. I took a photo with my cell phone but it ended up all blurry.
Next time I won't be so cheap...

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Chanko Yoshiba(チャンコ吉葉)

This was a hotel/restaurant/onsen in one. It was founded by a former Oseki (that's 3rd after Yokozuna and something else)sumo wresteler whose name I could not decipher. The restaurant serves "chanko," the food of sumo wrestlers. It is basically a hodge-podge of anything and everything from veggies to seafood. I've never actually had it because t is full of things I can't eat, namely shrimp. But in any case, that's how sumo get fat. It's not McDonalds and steaks. Just lots of shrimp and rice.

Ok enough backround. The bath was on the fourth floor overlooking the ocean. Would've been beautiful in the daytime I reckon. the water was not too hot, borderline lukewarm. Good for Jude. We came in as a couple people went out so we had the whole bath to ourselves. Had to stop jude from drinking the water and spitting it out. "We only do that at home, Jude" Probably never should've started that game at home...

It is right on Route 10. Easy access if you are travelling south, buy you'll need to do a U-turn somewhere or pray that you can cross 3 lanes of traffic to get in. Plenty of parking. Y300. Very reasonable.

They had the "Onsen Karute" or the diagnostic chart designed by the Tourism Bureau up on the wall. I'd like to get a shot of one of these to put on the website. Gives detailed info on where the spring originates, temperature, if they add water to the original spring and why etc. In Japan, you only need one drop of natural spring water to call it a "hot spring," so this system aims to clarify the contents of the bath and give the user the "real deal" as opposed to bunch of hot water from the tap.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Takenoi Hotel (竹ノ井ホテル)

Grandma U. was up from Kagoshima and Jude was so psyched. We did lunch and went a got some mountain spring water (My fave place around here, will blog more in detail with pix later). After some heavy-duty playing at the house, we went downtown to the hotel district and used a 100 yen off coupon to get in.
The clerk said all are rooms are full so the bath is bound to be busy. It was on the 8th floor. Jude went in with grandma and they had spectacular views of Beppu Bay. I went it by myself for the first time in a long time. After teh 2 guys in there left, it was the whole bath to myself. Everyone must've been at dinner. Good timing. The indoor bath was a comfy 40 degrees C, the "outdor" bath was actually enclosed with an open window. 2 baths, one very shallow. the other deep. U got nice views of the city along Route 10 with the misty mountains in the back. The view out the other windwow was of tokiwa department store and other hotels. Not too great. But the sound of traffic while I bathed was a different experience, and not all that bad.
They had a cooler of ice cold "mugi-cha," wheat tea outside which really hit the spot.
Tonite was a good bath. And a different experience from all the local historic joints we've been hitting. All things in moderation, I suppose. St. Paul was wise.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Jude's Thoughts


Horita Onsen(堀田温泉) Again

I went here because Jude couldnt make it last time. It has been bothering me actually. I went to the bath and he ended up waking up crying for Daddy.
this time around we got to go in the other bath (they rotate the men's and the women's baths). It is a mirror image, but feels like you've come to a whole new onsen. I like places that rotate their baths.
Jude thought the inside bath was a wee bit hot, but he loved the outside bath. Hard to keep him from splashing about!
After the bath we tried to catch some fireflies at Mugen no Sato, but there wern't many out. They say the typhoons ruined this year's "crop."
Now our spaports are literally on the same page. We have both made it thru 17 onsens. Wow. that's 2 levels already. after 24 baths we move into the next color level, "green."

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Nagaishi Onsen(永石温泉)

Got lost trying to find the onsen furthest away from the house. Tried to be adventuresome... But found a nice old fashioned wooden bathhouse. Brazenly parked illegally in front of the onsen and got an earful from the lady working the counter when we got out of the bath. Needless to say, there is no parking. But it was a nice "historic" bath. 100 yen.
Then onsens on the other side of town are cheap. Watch out for more "adventures"

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Nabeyama -yu(銅山湯)

Secret Hot Spring Volume 1
When we first started this onsen tour, I began looking for the cheap onsens. I came across 3 that were listed as free and 24 hrs. Upon closer inspection, I came to find out why: these were "secret onsens." Not all that secret, but off the beaten path, I guess a better term would be "all-natural." It just sounded so intriguing.

So it was nice Saturday afternoon, not too hot , not too cold, not too sunny and not too windy. I took Jude and we were off! After inspecting the map, I found that the onsen weren't that far off the actual road, and the road there was nicely gravelled. (I have been on worse driveways back in the US). Jude and parked on the side of the road and started hoofing it. Met some nice ladies who were picking berries and fern frawns.
The road wound up the valley with Mt Ogiyama across the way (this photo)

A little further up and the road ended at a big-ass boulder. Remind me not to come here when the weather is bad. This was the entrance.Got a pic of Jude there for posterity.DSC02432

From here you follow a sulfur orange stream up the hill to where the onsen is. It is called Nabeyama-yu, or "pot(i.e. pots and pans)-mountain spring." The landscape stars looking like Mars (see below) and it smells of rotten eggs, but in a good way...

The actual bath is well kept. Got some good people in Beppu. There is a tube of water too for those who like their baths lukewarm. Our original plan was "feet only," but Jude soon got himself all wet so I let him in all the way.

And he is well self-censored to boot.
Since there are no stamps here, a photo will suffice as proof that you were here for the 88 onsen rally. I think this photo will work nicely.
There is also a natural mud bath here. I took a photo only, but would like to come back someday and try it out. It seemed popular with all the old dudes who were there. DSC02437

So we had a good day. We were gonna try to get to another "secret" onsen , but were quite tucked out after our hike. next time I'm gonna take the car rigtht up as close as we can get. May not be the most environmental of options, but it sure beats carrying a tired wet kid out of the woods.
I must say this place was great. Good for all you motocyclist types. Tear up in your dirt bike, get naked, have a mud bath, tear home.
I was overwhelmed by the "green-ness" of Mt. Ogiyama. This is the mountain they burn every spring in a ritual festival. Got a snap of the car barely visible in the sea of green. DSC02439
Today's adventure was "excellent!" I can't wait to go back and find the other 2 "secret" onsens on the list.

Friday, June 03, 2005


Another HOT Kamegawa onsen. This one is right across the road from Shiho's fave Japanese sweets store. I park in their lot when I'm in this area and always buy something for Mommy on the way home.
Nice people in the tub tonite. A very local joint. tonite really made me realize that before tourism, Beppu's onsen are really a local resource. you can tell these people come here every day. It's that kind of place. A good vibe.
And cheap: Y100, 50 for Jude. And the old lady at the window gave us candy on the way out.