Sunday, April 30, 2006

Tsukahara Onsen & Teru-yu

Tsukahara Onsen

Since today was Sunday and since Jude woke up from his nap early (3:30PM) we decided to go on an extended onsen adventure. I scanned for hot springs that close at 4PM and called one in the area but they said that since it is Golden Week, that they are are not letting hot spring-only guests in. bummer. So I scanned for hot springs that close at 5 PM and found one called Tsukahara Onsen, it is in the next town Yufuin and it is the furtherst hot spring on the 88-tour.
We drove down the back roads and up and up and up the mountain. I was suprised when I realized that Tsukahara was the big smouldering caldera that I could see from the highway everytime we drove past Yufuin into Beppu. I couldn't get any pix of it so check out the website's gallery.
I did however get Jude in front of the front-end loader.

It looks like they are rebuilding their driveway, and I imagine they make enough money to do so. It was 500 yen for me and 200 yen for Jude and it was one of those "no-soap, soak-only" hot springs. It smelled like an old rusty pipe so I figure it was full of iron or something. It was definitely an experience, but I just don't feel clean unless I get to soap up and wash off. The idea behind these types of onsen is that you let the mineral soak into your skin and don't wash it off. I guess if I had gout, maybe I would but I prefer to wash my body rather than walk around smelling rusty all day.Don't get me wrong. It was cool and the landscape was stunning. I might like to come back here and do some hiking someday.


So Jude and I continued on our quest. We actually set out with the goal of hitting 3 onsen in one day, but once we got to the next spot, Teru-Yu in the Ogura neighborhood, Jude wouldn't leave. I looked in my onsen book and it said 200 yen, famous old onsen. I figured we were in for something rustic but this place had been rebuilt recently and was absolutely gorgeous. It seemed very popular with the locals because it was really full. The tub sits almost flush with the ground with a slightly raised rim of marble or marble-esque stone. You have to sit on the floor to wash yourself which is standard at the local hot springs not geared toward tourists. The folks here were some of the friendliest I have met (as opposed to Tsukahara where people didn't even say hello). A man came in with his 3 kids and Jude was having fun playing with his (hot) water pistol with them. He walked right up to them and said "Konnichiwa, Boku ha Judo desu (Hello, my name is Jude). " That's my Boy! Takes after his old shmoozer Grandpa John.
So at about 6 PM I had to bribe Jude out of the tub with promises of soda and we went home with bellies empty to enjoy Mommy's delicious dinner.

We are picking up the pace on our tour, having done 9 hot springs in April. We aim for 20 in May. This is the last thing left "to do" in Beppu before we move on (whenever that may be). Today's jaunt brought our count to 53. Only 35 left!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Kannawa Suji-Yu AND Jigoku-baru Onsen

50th hot spring hit!!

Today was a milestone in our journey. We did hot spring # 50.

Kannawa Suji-Yu
This onsen is on the Kannawa Walking Tour I do. It is good for your tendons (suji in Japanese). So I figured I should check it out. Jude put the 100 yen coin in the box and no sooner had we heard it plunk than we turned to see a sign that said: "There is no cold water at Suji-Yu so you cannot use soap or shampoo."
Oh boy... this is gonnna be fun. We were welcomed by a few nice older chaps who told us that yes, you don't soap up at this hot spring you just soak and towel off. So, I figured what the heck and stripped down. But is was pretty damn hot. I enjoyed by hot dip but Jude chose to play on the floor. He informed me "Daddy. Too hot Jude." So after about 5 minutes we got out and decided to hit another hot spring. That is what's great about Beppu, especially the Kannawa area.

Jigoku-baru Onsen
A nice little Buddha statue welcomed us into this mostly-locals-only hot spring.

This one wasn't so hot--despite its name "Source of Hell Hot Spring" -- so Jude enjoyed splashing around and shooting his water pistol. Like his new PJs?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Taiyo no Yu (太陽の湯)

I alloted time for getting lost tonight.
And I did. But then I called and got directions.
And I wondered why a 60 yen onsen would have a phone and it turns out that it is part of a giant complex for disabled folks. Some very friendly folks helped up navigate the walkways to the hot spring, and the bath itself was quite new and modern. It didn't have the "hot spring" mineral type of feel, it was very clear onsen. It started to get crowded, though, so I coaxed Jude out with promises of juice.
He didn't mind because he was actually quite tired this evening. We scouted out our potential target for tomorrow, a real scummy looking place, and made our way home the back way thru streets so narrow my car barely fit down them.

Name: Taiyo no Yu
District: Kamegawa
Price: 60 yen for adults, 40 yen for kids
Parking: a lot

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Shibaseki Onsen (柴石温泉)

We have driven past the entrance to this one for nearly 2 years now. It was 7 PM and this joint closes at 8 so I said to Jude "Let's do it." It's time to stop slacking and hurry up and become masters... I can't leave Beppu in good conscience before we hit 88 hot springs...
I did not realize that this was on of the real nice snazzed up city-run onsens. It is very nice and clean with "regular" and a "hot" tub inside and an outdoor bath. There is also a sauna. Jude met a kid in the outdoor bath and they had fun floating the basins in the water and shooting Jude's (hot) water pistol. He must've been about 7 or 8 and there was no parent in sight (Typical in Japan). The kid was jumping off rocks and swimming around, and Jude thought he has to do that too. I had to stop him. actually, the announcement saying the onsen was closed did the trick.
On our way home, we stopped at the look out to catch the hot steam light-up that they do on weekends. It was pretty cool.

Name: Shibaseki Onsen
District: Shibaseki
Price: 210 yen
Parking: Yes, lots

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Mom's shirt

I figured I had to put one on here of Mom in her snazzy T shirt. It says "everyday is hell."
I must admit, I like living so close to hell.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Beppu Beach Sand Bath(別府海浜砂湯)

This sand bath is right on Beppu Bay in Shoninga-hama Park. We often take Jude here to play, but this is the first time I' ve been in. I talked mom into going since "you can't do this back home in PA." She actually really enjoyed it. The sand it hot and you can feel your blood coursing through your body as you sweat a pound of sweat. I love it.
I am reading the PITT Magazine. If I send this photo in, chances are I will get in the next issue.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Umi-Jigoku Foot Bath(海地獄足湯)

Here is another jigoku foot bath that counted toward our 88 goal. This one was full of Korean tourists and the English sign said "Hot Spring of a Leg." That is poor, poor translation and embarrasing. Beppu, if you need a real translator please call me.

The Hot Spring festival guys came through with their drums and dragon costumes. It was cool. Mom really dug it. Good timing indeed

Oni-Bozu Jigoku Foot Bath(鬼坊主地獄足湯)

Mom is in town from the U.S. and we took her to the standard Beppu tourist trap, "Jigoku Meguri." That is where you walk around all the bubbling hells saying "ooh" and "Ahh" and trying not to pay 3 bucks for ice cream. Several have foot baths, like Oni-bozu Jigoku featured here.

And these foot baths count toward our 88 onsen goal. Entrance fees are 400 yen for most jigoku or you buy a book of 8 tickets for 2000 yen. Seniors got in free on April 1 for the Hot Spring festival
And after a lot of walking, these foot baths sure feel good