Sunday, August 28, 2005

SUMMER HOLIDAYS in KAGOSHIMA

Well, theses onsens won't count toward our 88 goal because they are the places we frequented when we went back to mom's hometown. But just to let you know that we were still enjoying the wonders of hot water there too.

Okinayu
Located directly behind Kirishima Onsen Station just over the Makizono border in Yokogawa town. They will all merge in Nov. so it doesn't matter. Jude went here twice with grandma. Loved it. Dad has tried to go here twice but it was closed on both occasions so I can't give you a real play by play, but if you ever take the train to Makizono, this is the first onsen once you get off.

Iwaibashi Onsen
This is mom and dad's favorite onsen in Makizono. Run by the Maruno family. It is rustic and the water has some soothing soft magical quality. The outdoor bath is always on the lukewarm side and perfect for little tikes. Jude loved it. Loved it even more when it started raining.We were lucky to get in the tub before a whole high school basketball team showed up.

Sunset Resort
This is not technically an onsen. It was the big indoor bath at the hotel we stayed in on Tokunoshima, a sub-tropical island just north of Okinawa. It was very clean with many tubs to choose from. Jude liked the vibra-bath with all the bubble making jets, and he loved the water bath. He is not phased by jumping into a bath full of cold water, and he won't come out. He is a stronger man than I. I had to keep him away from the electric bath. Yes, it is a tub with live outlets in the sides that give you mild shocks while you bathe. You know that feeling when you lick a 9 volt battery. It' like that all over your body. I don't know whose bright idea that was but I avoid those baths. I stuck my hand in, but that was enough. Jude successfully peed in the outdoor bath. Dont' tell anyone.

Here is Jude and I in the ocean in Tokunoshima. He loves the waves!!
Tokunoshima

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Ryokan Miyukiya(旅館みゆき屋)

Drove all over the Kannawa district trying to find an onsen open past 8:30 PM. Called one place and got detailed directions only to get lost on a road that barely held my car. It was dark and Jude had fallen asleep so I drove aimlessly down the main road until I came across a place with an actual parking lot: Miyuki-ya.

This place was a traditional Japanese style inn. Lots of wood, rustic. There were old postcards of Beppu in the loby. Very cool indeed to see the old steamships on the bay. The old guy at the counter was nice as could be. Only 500 yen for the 2 of us to have a n outdoor bath all to ourselves. It turns out all the baths here were family baths. You get an hour and you dont have to worry about other patrons gettin in your way.
It was very clean and the water was mineraly. Quite nice. Lots of basins and shower faucets for Jude to play with, too. The bath had some "aloe salt" that you were free to use but I didnt feel like reading the explicit instructions on a fading piece of paper so I opted not to use those.
When we finished, the old guy showed us where to stamp our spaports and he gave Jude some bubbles. He was pumped, thought he would get to blow some bubbles. But dad burst his instead...Sorry bud. I parked in front of a Coke machine and bought a Lemon Coke before getting into the car. Jude spotted me and cried that he only had water in his cup. I burned rubber outta there and took him home. Mommy was in the onsen when we got back so he cried for her. I recognized the tiredness in his cry, quickly brushed his teeth and put him down.
A good onsen was had by all.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Hyotan Onsen(ひょうたん温泉)

Jude is back in town so we did our first onsen in a month. The Hyotan Onsen just reopend after rennovations. I had always meant to go there and since I heard it had been refurbished I figured now was better than ever.
I checked the prices and prepared a pocket full of change to cover the 700 yen fee for me and the 200 fee for children under five. When I entered I found that adults are 550 after 6 pm and kids under 3 are free. A very good start.
After paying, we walked thru a courtyard which serves as a beer garden into the bathing area. It was HUGE. There was a rock bath, 2 banks of showers (about 20 showers each), a cypress bath (great aroma), a little bath shaped like a hyotan (gourd) a giant outdoor bath, and about 20 waterfall baths. These are high pressure streams of water that you let pound your shoulders and they feel great. Jude's fave was the Pebble bath. A narrow strip of a bath that you walk thru. it was bout 20 yards long and the bottom was covered in pebbles to give you a foot massage as you walked. We did about 20 round-trips through that thing. Jude also liked putting his plastic elephant watering can under the waterfall. I couldn't get him out of there!
They had a nice ice-cold water fountain in the dressing room which I liked to drink and Jude like to turn on and off.
I missed a work party here the other night, but I would like to come back and go for dinner and a bath here sometime. It is the perfect place to take company to. Anyone gonna be in town?