Friday, June 30, 2006

Hotel Seikai

Had the day off which means Jude and I could hit one of the hotels that close early.
Seikai is right next to the ocean, I mean, right next to it. The outdoor bath is right above the cement breakwater! It isn't the best stretch of ocean to stare at, but it was still nice, especially since I was off work. (Technically, I was off cuz Jeff has the runs and I had to go to the hospital, but he seems perfectly fine, except for the runs...)
Usually 700 yen. Right on Route 10 so hard to right turn into from the other lane. You might want to do a U-Turn in Kamegawa so you can slide easily into the parking lot.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Daikoku-ya (大黒屋)

Daikokuya is the jigoku-mushi joint we always stop by on my walking tour. This is where we took mom to enjoy an excellent lunch of hot spring-steamed goodies.
I had never been in the onsen here, so I figured I should make an effort to stop by here. To top it off, NHK was here with cameras so my bare ass will be broadcast all over Japan next month! I brought my buddy Tres from APU along with me to spread the love, so to speak. Hey, when you have the chance to be bare naked on national TV, why not bring your friends?

The onsen was HOT! It's this time of year when the going gets tought for us wannabe masters. 21 onsen left... We are aiming for July 27 as the cut off, but it's gonna be a sweat-fest more than anything else. Tres only has 6 stamps but he says he will beat us to 88. I accept your challenge!

So about NHK, well, they are doing a show about how international Beppu has become. The show is called "Nippon Saihakken" or "Rediscovering Japan." It will be broadcast on hi-vision satellite TV first. That means the iamge quality will be so good you'll be able to tell if I missed a spot shaving or not. After that, we will be on regulat national TV for the whole (Japanese) world to see.

BS Hi-Vision TV
Saturday, July 22 18:00 - 18:49
Monday, July 24 15:00 - 15:49
Wednesday, July 26 00:00 - 00:49 (in other words, late Tuesday)

Regular NHK
Sunday, July 23 10:05 - 10:54 TBA
* Nothing like some naked men after your breakfast

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Hotel Kouraku (ホテル好楽)


We used our free tickets and hit the downtown hotel area. Every time I go there I realize how ugly it is. Must've been something back in the day, though.
Went to Kouraku. I know the owner. The lobby is drab but it looks like they recently redid the onsen. It was hot so Jude chose to play beside it and not it in. There was no one there so we enjoyed the peace and quiet.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Hotel Pastoral and Nishitetsu Resort Inn Beppu

Trying to make up for lost time Jude and I hit 2 onsen today.
The first was Hotel Pastoral, a nice new-ish hotel whose mainstay, it seems, is weddings. Their were people in the lobby al dressed up and some other couples getting an explanations about the wedding procedures (I think). It 's a big business when you consider that the average Japanese couple will spend upwards of $20,000 on a wedding!!


The indoor bath was spacious and the outdoor bath was gorgeous with a nice Japanese garden feel. It felt great in the middle of the day!!

Jude and I instended to do 3 onsen today. We headed into town and 2 hotels turned us down. One claimed that it's bath was under construction so that bath-only customers couldn7t come in. OK, what about your guests then?? Whatever. The next hotel. Sorry onsen-only is a no go. So we wheeled back out onto the main drag and pulled into
our next stop.

Nishitetsu Resort Inn is not really a resort, it's actually a budget hotel. But it is very new and clean and much nicer than the other crappy hotels in the area. It wasn't on my free ticket list so I shelled out 300 yen. Not bad. The bath was gorgeous with a big glass window separating the indoor and outdoor baths. The outdoor bath had a "rock" garden with those decorative white stones. Jude was washing the stones in the tub. Had to put a stop to that...

We got our stamp and heade toward Suginoi Hotel, one of the most famous hotels in Beppu but Jude fell alseep so I took him home. Only for him to immediately wake up and demand a popsicle (sigh)

It's 5 PM, we might just hit one more tonight :P

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Hotel Arthur(ホテルアーサー)

I had promised Jude a train ride so we hopped on at Beppu Daigaku Station and did the one-stop jaunt into Beppu. He LOVES trains. We met a Buddha in the train station.



Using our handy-dandy free tickets, we stopped in a Hotel Arthur. As you know Japanese can't pronounce r or th, so this hotel is pronounced "Aah-saah." and they even had a full suit of aah-maah in the robby. ( I 'll stop being mean now)


Jude thought it was scary...


The onsen here is quite nice. I was expecting run of the mill slightly run-down hotel stlye hot springs but this one wasn't so. A bit small but nice and replete with cypress smelling soap!?!? It is fun to see that soaps and shampoos each hotel has. But I think the charcoal shampooo salesman is doing the best job. That stuff is everywhere!

Jude and I had intended to do another onsen while we were in town but I couldn't find the one were were looking for with my tiny map. next time I will getmy super detailed street map and map out a course. This was onsen 63. 25 to go. But if we aim to become masters by Jude's bday that means we have to do a lot od hot spring hopping in the hottest months of the year.

Price: 500 yen
Parking: plenty underneath the hotel

Friday, June 02, 2006

Kunisaki-so(国東荘)

This is a new addition to the pack. Not necessarily a new onsen, but they started let ting us wannabe masters come and soak. The inn itself looked a little old and rather simple. I handed over our free ticket and the lad said,"I'll show you to the annex."
This was the onsen. Built just last year (out of cypress). It smelled wonderful! There was a nice big tub and no one there so Jude and I had a swim




They also had what is called a "mushi-yu" or steam bath, basically a sauna. You crawl into a crawl space and the floor is covered with a grass called Sweet Flag. It has a unique smell and they say it's good for your throat. I just peeked inside. It's like 70 plus Celcius so VERY hot. The most famous steam bath is run by the city and they are currently rebuilding it. It has been around for oh, 700 years or so. But this place is the only privately run steam bath.



This onsen usually costs 600 yen, which I would usually be too cheap to pay. But this place is the hidden gem of Kannawa. Seriously, it was gorgeous and down a little back street so maybe not so well known. I can definitely say that it ranks near the top of my list now.

There is parking for 3 cars, if your car is small enought to fit down the narrow street in the first place...