Hot Springs

April 13th, 2010

Day 85.  Japan sits in an earthquake zone and is littered with volcanoes.  Needless to say, this is not an ideal location for a country.  The up-side is that Japan boasts more than 3000 natural hot springs (known as Onsen) bubbling with water rich in minerals.  From Kyoto Station (where we took a video of an impressive “Word Fountain”) we travelled by Shinkansen, local train and wooden streetcar all the way to Dogo Onsen on the island of Shikoku to bathe in its famous spring water to soothe our limbs and to have skin like a baby’s bottom.

Old wooden streetcars at Dogo Onsen

We learned of the fancy Funaya Ryokan in Dogo Onsen from our ex-neighbours in London.  A beautiful Japanese style room was waiting for us there.  After a customary green tea served to us on arrival to refresh us from our journey, we headed to the baths in the adjoining building built directly on top of the spring.  We’re now seasoned Japanese bath takers so we felt reasonably confident in what we were doing, even in this high-class establishment, though we forgot that it is considered good form *not* to take a shower after bathing in the spring water so as to prolong its positive effects.

Once again, we were provided our own comfortable yukata robes to wear in the grounds of the Ryokan, but we were also provided socks suitable for wearing with sandals.

These socks are both fashionable and practical

After bathtime came mealtime, an umpteen course extravaganza of Japanese delicacies served personally to our room course by course.

Tempura leaf

Octopus and cuttlefish sushi

The perfect strawberry accompanied by the pinkish "bancha" tea

We had already ordered hot sake to drink with our meal, but through the wonders of modern technology, we were engaged in an email conversation with James back in London just before sitting down to eat.  He recommended that we order the Namezake, a cold unpasteurised sake, to drink with our meal.  We happily obliged!

Safe takes food orders from James by email

Proof that we drank the Namezake on James's behalf as requested!

One Response to “Hot Springs”

  1. James D says:

    Delighted you found the Namezake!
    I hope it lived up to expectations!

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