An onsen in the mountains

Japan day 12

The majority of the day was spent in various forms of public transport. It hadn’t been that easy to figure out as Google Maps were missing important busses and various operators driving in the remote Northern Japanese Alps, where I was heading. 

It mostly worked out, but when I finally made it to somewhere in the midst of the Alps with only a few buildings around, and the bus had already left. This was where my hotel was supposed to be, but  it wasn’t. The map from the booking company was definitely wrong. Then, magically, it started pouring down. On Google Maps there was a building with the correct name across a river but it looked dilapidated and nothing like the photos from the booking webpage. Still, I checked and it was just an abandoned building. I asked two different employees in the nearby businesses, who seemed to know the place but couldn’t explain it except that it was somewhat down the road. I started walking with little hope of finding it, but then there popped up a building that looked right, and it was. Yes!

There was even an onsen at the place, which I hadn’t expected. An onsen is a Japanese bath filled by A hot spring. It is customary to bathe completely naked, and most of the time it is segregated by gender. 

The sulphuric smell wasn’t particularly welcome, but quickly stopped noticing it. It was outdoors and right next to a river. In the distance the mountains loomed, which were partially obscured by clouds and mist. Ot had stopped raining, but the thunder sounded like it was still close by.  I relaxed in one of the nicely warm pools, but also took a refreshing dip in the quite cold river. 

I spoke with an elderly Japanese man, who understood next to no English, but that made for a quite funny conversation. He asked what I did for a living. I explained that by acting like I had a stethoscope. He then pointed to the scar on his sternum, and said “triple bypass“. I had guessed that right when I saw him, but then tried to ask if he felt it had helped him. Couldn’t explain that propoerly, but at least he seemed like a quite content person. He was a retired engineer from Sanyo traveling here with his wife, though she obviously wasn’t in the male bath. I then taught him the Danish words for the majority of my extensive Japanese vocabulary. That is “hej” and “god dag”. Ha, ha. Then I went to bed in my room which was another one which tatami mats and a mattress on the floor, but yet again elicited a feeling of something traditionally Japanese. 

Finally found the hotel
The warm onsen pools are just visible between the rocks
My room
Old school pastel-colored telephone

Leave a Reply