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Day 13: Hot Baths A Go Go

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Unfortunately the rain had followed us up the mountains which meant that visiting the volcano was not possible. Every grey cloud and all that, it did of course leave the day wide open for a spot of onsen-hopping around some of the more famous baths in the town.

This whole bathing etiquette takes quite a bit of getting used. Firstly you have to make sure that you are entering the men rather than the women's bath (two Japanese characters it seems worthwhile to learn). Then you have to make sure that you are as naked as God intended and washed thoroughly before entering the baths. The only concession to modestly is a very small white loin cloth which can be deployed as either a head cooler or a provider of modesty depending upon whether you are neck high in the steaming water or on the move to another (perhaps a bit cooler if you could find it) part of the bath.

Fully gowned up (think commando in a kimono) with umbrella and shawl, off we headed for a stunning country walk perfectly interspersed with different baths around the town, some hot / some cold, some outdoor / some in caves, by the late afternoon we could happily claim to have bathed ourselves to exhaustion and so it was time to head back to the ryokan for one more night of culinary adventures and tatami mats.

I also got my first opportunity to play around with a tripod and some time delayed photo shots of the small waterfalls surrounding our room. Quite happy with the results, particularly the steam rising from the mens bath into the cold mountain evening.


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