Go to a Hot Spring Resort When You're Tattooed??

Trip Start Aug 11, 2010
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Trip End Sep 02, 2010


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Flag of Japan  , Hokkaido,
Saturday, August 28, 2010

 
Today I had to get an early start so I was up by 7 am, went to breakfast buffet and stacked my plates with salad greens, fruit, miso soup (bowl)...almost everything except eggs because they were soupy scrambled.  I finally got some money at the 7-11 ATM, checked my bags, and made a reservation for when I come back. 

I took my final jaunt on my JR Rail Pass to Noboribetsu station and then got a bus to the hot springs resort town.  Right next to the bus stop, there was an information center that was absolutely terrific!  I got an English map of the town and the park trails.  The man at the center tried about 5 hotels before he found one with a vacancy.  It was a hike up a hill to get there...the hotel was one of the farthest from the station.  I left my bags but couldn't check in until later when I discovered that I had a posh room with buffet breakfast and dinner included.  From my open window, I can hear the hot springs river running outside past the hotel.  I am getting to be a ditzy old lady for sure.  I couldn't find my bath towel(s)...I looked everywhere...except the closet where I found them along with my yukata when I got back to my room with my second set of towels from the front desk.  After I showered, I put on my yukata and sat and read drinking hot green tea.  This is the life!

My first excursion was to Hell Valley.  I had gone to the Tourist Info Center in the center of town and gotten some advice about the best spots to see.  It has always been a crap shoot whether the tourist information turns out to be helpful, but in this town, I found them to be exceptionally helpful.  This was going to be my best shot at bubbling mud...I desperately wanted to see bubbling mud.  At the first lookout, there were some steamy trickles of hot water running by, some big hills with different colored sand on them, a few metal spouts with puffs of steam coming out, but NO bubbling mud.  I got to see one pool bubble.  It wasn't bubbling mud but it was pretty cool....or hot, really.  Because I had on my flipflops, I decided to do other hikes tomorrow morning - to the crater lake and maybe the foot bath.  I couldn't go to these baths in the hotel either because of my tattoo. 

I did some shopping in town and looked for KitKats.  There was a demon festival going on.  Demons are big here with demon statues on the streets and lots of demon souvenirs.  I even got some of them.  I came back to the hotel, relaxed a bit...maybe too relaxed.  My room is so deluxe I hate to leave.  Then I went to dinner.  I felt a bit out of place - the majority were wearing their yukatas.  I get the part where you take off your shoes and put on slippers by now.  But here they had the slippers but you were not supposed to put them on.  There were corn-on-the-cob pieces for dinner but I didn't know how I was supposed to eat them.  Oh, well - the food was varied and I tried 3/4 of it maybe.  I left the ziti...or maybe it was some sea animal?  Nothing really stood out.  The sashimi was good...I should have taken more of that. 

I wrote some postcards...now I have to find my stamps.  There was supposed to be dancing at 8:15 but I was starting to get lazy again.  I had been up and down the road too many times and I didn't really want to do it in the dark because there were no sidewalks.  I felt guilty that I had missed a special cultural event....demon festival especially.  But I just luxuriated with my green tea, book and the sound of running water outside the window
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