Continue Tuesday 8th September
We caught the ferry back from Miyaijima to Hiroshima and picked up our bags from the hostel, straight to the station ready to head out to Beppu. We bought some more Momiji Manju cakes for our trip, they are big in Hiroshima and the custard and chocolate filled ones are the best, delicious. They are everywhere and in the shape of stars very nice.
Took a lot longer on the trains than we expected, managed to run over some bits from Japan book, catch up on diaries, watch the rest of Night in a Museum 2 on ipods and then watched some of The Last Samurai - these ipods are coming in very useful on these journeys, thats for sure.
We arrived at hostel about 8:30pm, luckily the reception was still open and we were able to book in. I was put out of my comfort zone a little here, the place was a little more run down then any hostel we'd been in so far and the dorms were split male and female, so I wouldn't be sleeping in the same room as Ad, wasn't happy but went along with it anyway. It didn't help that a huge cockroach ran under my feet and the owner chased it around the front room for a bit, I was not impressed. Went on the net for quite a while, before heading for bed and luckily managed to get to sleep after one and a bit Chick Flic's later te he.
Wednesday 9th September
As it happened the beds were perfectly comforatable and I even had a little curtain to draw across which was cosy, so got a fair bit of sleep. Had arranged to meet Ad in front room between 8-9am. I thought my alarm had not gone off when I heard loads of girls russling in their bags and packing to leave, so panicked and quickly got myself together, only t realise it was 6:50am DOH! Now wide awake I went to shower and roam around until Ad got up.
We met in front room about 8:30, I had been sitting there watching the rest of my chick flic while those around me were cooking up some wonderful breakfasts and I was dribbling te he. So as soon as we were ready we went for something to eat. Found a really nice food market within a shopping mall, bought some really nice rice dishes with Chicken and Veg on mine and Ad had prawns and veg. We took these down to the coast and found a nice seating area by a pier section that they are still building but looks like it's going to be really nice when done. Was nice to take in some sea air and relax while eating our brekky. mmmmmmmmmmmm
Strolled along the front for a while, the map had mentioned a sand bath which sounded interesting, so went on a mission to find it. Found a nice beach area but unfortunately work was being done on it, so not ready for sunbathing on just yet, we did sit here for a bit tho and relax whilst watching a bird of pray look for food. We strolled into the grounds of a school, the teacher guided us back to the path (we'd get lost in our own back yards I'm sure of it te he). The main road just inside of the sea front was very busy, bit boring really, lots of big industrial type buildings with the odd Casino area etc. We found a McDonalds and bought a vanilla milkshake each to spice up the long walk.
Was about to give up when we finally reached the sand bath. In a nice section actually, with lots of palm trees and little water features, I think they are trying to spice this place up to look more western, looks nice tho, will be great when finished. Some people were already in the sand bath, looked very hot, but nice location right next to the sea. Lots of steam coming from the sand tho, we wasn't sure whether to do it or not. We tried the Foot onsen, my gosh it was hot, felt like my skin was going to melt, but once you settled it was quite nice, sitting there looking out to see, became quite relaxing actually. Saw the french guy from our hostel there, he said the sand bath is quite warm but well worth a try.
As we didn't have the money on us we jumped on train back to where we came from t get some more and popped into the local information centre, they recommended another place where we could also do the sand bath at a reduced price if we did the onsen to, plus there were some hot springs in the area, so we thought why not. Jumped on a bus to Umi-Jigo hot springs first, great to see, pure blue water with steam pouring from it, too hot to go into obviously but you got to see all the pools steaming and bubbling away, from the volcanoes around us. Very nice place, pretty gardens and got to see some of the local plants up close, really nice. Found another foot onsen within the grounds and relaxed here, this one was not as hot as the one on the sea front, but it was nicer I thought and more relaxing, stayed until closing time.
In totally relaxed frames of mind, we took a slow stroll down the hill to Hyouton Onsens, where we were fortunate to hire a private onsen for an hour. Wow this place was nice. Our choice of onsen was called "Sennin" the girls on reception recommended it, it had a nice little waterfall in one corner and a sauna/steam room in the other, was lovely. Felt very romantic, I felt things really couldn't get any more relaxing, there is something so nice about bathing in a hot bath outside, it's just perfect. The sauna/steam room was a bit much, we didn't spend too long in there, but chilled in the onsen for ages. A dip pool in the corner was a wee bit chilly but nice and refreshing.
As we had booked this private onsen, they said we could go into the sand bath and the public onsen for a very cheap price. So we went for it. The sand bath was relaxing but got hot fast and you are not supposed to be in there longer than 20 mins or it can start to burn your skin, so we took some pics and layed there for a bit then got out before too long. Was able then to each wash off in the public onsens. I used the huge waterfalls in the onsen massage my back and neck it was wonderful, then relaxed in the outside bath, which I had to myself whilst looking up at the stars, so nice, we really couldn't have got a more relaxing day. We have now decided to try and build an onsen in the garden when we get home, now that would be good.
So relaxed now, we found a nice little restaurant near to the hostel where we shared some nice dishes for dinner. The whole day is just one big WOW, managed to sleep super well tonight.