The museum and gardens were quite good, my favorite was seeing all the different Japanese gardens
. These are very different to Englsih gardens, as they are ornamental ie you do not actually walk on the gardens just look at them from the inside of the building. There is a lot of attention to detail spent on the arranging of all the different features of the garden e.g trees, rocks, plants and water features. Supposedly it is good to watch as the seasons affect how the gardens look e.g blossoms in Spring, green in Summer and snow in Winter. However its certainly not the sort of place you could imagine enjoying a barbecue and beers in the summer!
When we finally arrived at Kurayoshi we gave the ryokan a call and they came quickly and picked us up. (This is a really good thing as some hostels and hotels in the countryside are in very rural locations that would be very expensive if we had to get taxis to them). There was 1 lady who could speak English so she guided us around the establishment on our arrival. It is worth mentioning that this Ryokan, Yozyokan is situated right on a lake that is close to a volcano, and has minerally rich spring water pumping underneath it. For this reason, it has many onsen, or baths, some are public which are segregated by sex and others are private meaning you can go in as a couple and no one else can enter.
Jon`s favourite was a private onsen outside in the grounds right on the lake shore
. The bath is on a wooden platform and it is completly private as it is encircled by a wooden fence. You can sit naked in the bath while it rains on the mist shrouded lake around you. Even though it is cold outside, the bath is piping hot. Another quirky thing they have in the grounds - you can ask for an egg from reception then boil it in the hot sulphorous spring water (the sulphur does not affect the taste of the egg) it took about 30 minutes but the eggs were still a little runny but OK to eat. They gave us soy sauce to eat with the egg, though in my opinion, salt and pepper would have been better.
Daniella`s favourite onsen was a private one too, but this one was inside. The room was large with lovely tiles and 2 spacious baths, 1 of which had recliners on which you could lie. Also the baths faced outwards to a little mini garden which sent a nice breeze into the steamy room.Everyone has there own favorite, they had about 7 different baths at the ryokan, unfortunately we did not have time to try them all.
As this ryokan was obviously a lot bigger than the one we visited before there was not the attention to detail in the service we received in Kurashiki. Thats not to say it was not good, which it was. Our food however was not the easiest meal we have both ever eaten
. We are quite adventurous eaters, even Daniella as she is a bit new to eating fish, there were just some really weird foodstuffs put in front of us here. Some we could not decipher what on earth they are, just that they came from the sea and dont taste that good. We enjoyed our old favourites such as sashimi, tempura , beef and crab, but there were just too many things we did not really enjoy. Unfortunately this continued for breakfast where we got the same smelly fish as in the first ryokan. I think that will probably be our last ryokan even though overall we really enjoyed it, the food is just not easy for a non-Japanese. Though it must be mentioned that it is beautfiully presented, as you will see from the photos that we took.
Overall, we give this ryokan a thumbs up, mostly because of its wonderful onsen. Next stop - Tottori!
We had booked ourselves into an ryokan for the night on the shores of lake Togo, which is near the town of Kurayoshi, however as we could only check-in at 3pm, we decided to make a stop at the Adachi Museum of Art and Japanese garden. This attraction was recommended to us by our host the previous night, and the pictures on the flyer looked good. Like every day it seems, it was again rainy, veering from drizzle to torrential downpours -theres nothing much we can do about it so we just have to get on with it. There was a shuttle bus from the nearest JR station (our JR pass has been an essential part of our journey round Japan so far -we could not have done it without it as it would have been really expensive buying each individual ticket. Japan has the best rail system of any country I have ever visited - it is very wide reaching, trains are quick and on time, obviously it is expensive but so is Britain`s without being anywhere near as good.)