Monday, May 15, 2006

Waylayed

Well, looks like Dad got another ear infection. No hot springs for the time being.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Hotel New Tsuruta(ホテルニューツルタ)

6th floor hotel onsen with a view of the yacht harbor (okay, the definition of yacht in Japanese is more like plain old sailboat). WE had the hot spring all to ourselves. Jude likes the hotels because he can play with the shower heads. There is also a sauna here. Better than most mid-line hotels, I would say

Friday, May 12, 2006

Yume Hotel Kakusui-an(夢ホテルかくすい苑)

Using our free hotel tickets, the whole damn family went downtown to the onsen today. This is one of the many old hotels squished in the Kitahama area. The theme of the hotel is "art" and their are antique statues and scrolls and such all over the place. It makes for a cool atmosphere.
The bath was also themed with little trinkets and things tucked away in the corners. These frogs greeted us as we entered.


The outdoor bath looked like I nicely decorated patio with nice flagstones and a faux marble tub. The cool thing is that it was on the roof and you could check out the bay and the city, and if the angle was right, I bet the folks up in Beppu Tower could have seen us in all our grand glory in the cool night air (not much to see, perhaps).
So far, this is the best downtown onsen I have been too. More reports to follow as we continue our quest (60 down, 28 to go).

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Beppu Fuji-Kan Hotel(別府富士観ホテル)

So after a few days of a cold, I decided that I was healed and took Jude out so we could start using our free onsen tickets. We went to Fujikan Hotel which is right on the bay overlooking a not too scenic cement breakwater. The guys at the front desk were very friendly, but the onsen was full of non-Japanese Asians who were not the most well-mannered folks. We entered to see 5 guys just kind of laying spread eagle on the floor. As much as the onsen may feel good, you are typically supposed to maintain a certain level of decency... And then the cacophony of cackling girls from the womens' side of the bath echoing off the vaulted roof was too much.
The onsen itself was quite hot, typical of the downtown Beppu area. Jude liked the lion-shaped faucet on the tub.
I guess this is a fair-to-midland example of a hotel bath. Most of these hotels had their heydey like 20 or 30 years ago so if you really want to experience a Beppu hot spring, I would recommend finding a nicer onsen-only facility.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

One Year and Counting

Today marks one year since Jude and I began our onsen odyssey.
We have cleared 58 hot springs and just got some free tickets which will put us within striking distance of our goal.
Watch out, Beppu! 2 new masters will soon be crowned!

See our first post here

Friday, May 05, 2006

Yu-Ya Ebisu (湯屋 えびす)

Today, we all went to an old-school amusement park called Rakutenchi. It reminded me of Conneaut Lake with the old 60s and 70s styled buidlings and faded paint. There was a lot more than I expected. Shiho had to ride with Jude though, cuz I can't handle spiny things.
After our naps, Jude, Jeff, Grandma and I went to the onsen. We tried to go to Kamegawa but the onsen was closed. Today is a holiday, childrens' day! Everywhere you go there are giant carp kites (koinobori) flying around.
So we went on to Plan B, took the back road up to APU and rocked over to the stinky Myoban area.
Yuya Ebisu was remodled last year and it is gorgeous. Jude especuially liked the "Relaxation Cave," a room with a jet bath inside. I liked the milky white sulfur-stinky baths. In fact we all still smell of sulfur.
Jeff got his first stamp in his Spaport... will he become a Master , too? Only time will tell. Depends on when I get a job offer...

Adults: 1000 yen
Kids under 3 free
Plenty of parking, but watch out for the traffic on the curves. There are actually yellow raod signs that warn you of the hot spring steam and say "No Gawking"

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Oni-Ishi-no-Yu(鬼石の湯)

It's Golden Week in Japan, and boy were the roads packed! It took us 20 minutes to get to the onsen when it should only take 5 at most.
Shiho's mom is in town and Jude and I took her out to Oni-Ishi, a gorgeous onsen run by the folks who run the Oni-Ishi Bozu Hell (bubbling mud hell).
The tub had giant citrus fruits floating in it. Nice touch.



There was a "look-out" bath upstairs and I actually saw some nice birds, as opposed to the ubiquitous garbage-pecking ravens.

Downstairs, I hit the outdoor bath and lounged butt-naked on the lounge chair. It was a beautiful warm day, and there were no other patrons there so it was wonderful!


Jude and Grandma bathed in the womens' bath and I hear Jude had a blast playing with the big fruits.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bouchou Onsen(望潮温泉)



This is probably the onsen closest to our house, a few neighborhoods away...except of course for the onsen on the apartment grounds, but that doesn't count towards our quest for the 88.

Anyway, we scoped this place out a while back. On a real narrow backstreet and OLD! The owner, in fact, proudly informed us that it was the 2nd oldest onsen in Beppu.
The inside was run-down and kind of gross in the corners, but the tub was clean and clear and nice and hot! There were some rules for kids on the wall since the elementary school is so close by.Typical Japanese stuff like:
We promise to go home before curfew
We promise not to bother the other patrons

After our bath the old owener talked my leg off. Cool old guy. I promised him some souvenirs from PA and he was stoked. I will drop em off after work someday next week.

Adults: 100 yen
kids: 50 yen
Parking: 2 cars (if you squeeze)




Wth this onsen we have reached 56. In other words LEVEL 7 CLEAR
Now, if we go to the Tourism Bureau and get certified, we get a bunch of free onsen tickets for the hotels! Ahh, the last 32 will be in style, baby!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Tani no Yu(谷の湯)

I'd rather not talk about this one...

Monday, May 01, 2006

Velodrome Hot Spring

Today is very exciting because I get to use the word "velodrome." Yes, Beppu has its very own Velodrome and the velodrome even has a hot spring on the grounds. Gotta love Beppu.
Jude and I had tried to go to another onsen in the Kamegawa area that was listed as open till 7 PM. The price was listed as "spare change." These places usually prove pretty rustic and this was no exception. It is on the grounds of a temple and it appears that the monk there pulled the plug out of the tub early. We arrived at 6:50 to an empty tub in a shack tht was big enough for maybe 2 people.
So, I quickly revereted to Plan B: The Velodrome. I thought it would be a crusty onsen but actually it was really nice. Only 100 yen and the water was the nice "soft" kind that you encounter in these parts. If you want some scietific proof of what's inside, well I don't know. But there were some nice, friendly old dudes in here and Jude had a ball splashing around with his green elephant watering can (Ooh, that sounds like a band name...).
If you go watch a race in the Velodrome, the hot spring is free. I recommend it because not only is it nice, you can tell all your friends that you went to the Velodrome and you can feel the word drip off your tongue with sibilant zing.
Say it out loud!

VELODROME