Shimane beach report

Simply beautiful… The weather was incredible, even with +50 SPF sun cream carefully spead by my girlfriend all over my body, I managed to catch a few sunburns. The beach was very quiet, just a couple dozen people enjoying the sea. For a comparison, I would say the place looks like a beach on the Mediterranean sea, but with pristine water. More photos on my flickr page.

Aiko in the room

Our hotel was once more almost perfect, a great find from my girlfriend. The room was a mix of modern and traditional designs, and the bath on the balcony was overviewing the forest. The only downside was that the futons were a little thin. This ryokan also gets my seal of approval and I encourage any of you to stay there if you’re ever in the neighborhood: 樋口旅館 in 有福温泉.

Little beach trip before Obon

Next trip of the summer will be 2 days in the Shimane prefecture, enjoying the beach on the Sea of Japan and a nice ryokan in an onsen town. Once again, the schedule will be very tight: I’ll leave Tokyo Monday evening, meet my girlfriend as she leaves from work and spend the night in Hiroshima. Then we’ll take a 2 hour bus ride on Tuesday morning through the 中国山地 to the other side of the island on the 日本海.

overview of the trip

There we’ll enjoy a nice day at the beach. My girlfriend has been there a couple of times and assures me the beaches are beautiful. Since 島根県 is the second least populated prefecture of Japan, I hope overcrowding will not be a problem.

the room we booked with its bath

We’ll then spend a night in a very nice ryokan, once again with a 露天風呂 in the room before heading back to Hiroshima where I’ll take the plane back to Tokyo and my dull job…

Touring the ponds of hell

The second day of my trip to Beppu was spent on the 地獄巡り, literally touring the hells. What they call hells are 8 remarkable hotsprings around the city, spouting 99°C water and throwing huge plumes of steam in the air.

Some of them have cobalt blue water, another called 血の池地獄 is as red as a pool of blood, the one in the photo below is called 鬼石坊主地獄 for the bubble of boiling mud that resemble the shaved heads of earth demons.

oni ishi bouzu jigoku

There’s also a geyser that spouts for 6 minutes every 20 minutes. They built a sort of mini-amphitheater around it so tourist can sit and wait for it to spurt out. Typically japanese…

me in front of the geyser

With all this steam everywhere, the area around the spring in noticeably hotter and more humid than the rest of the city. In this micro-climate, they planted tropical plants all around and brought in tropical animals: there is a zoo with an elephant and a hippo bathing in hotspring water, they even breed crocodiles, caymans and alligators in one of the “Hells”.

enjoying the sound of the waves

After a very sweaty visit, we went back to the hotel and I had to take one last dip in the hotel’s public bath. It was empty so I could take some photos of the place. Then we grabbed our bags and headed back home with the 新幹線.

Hotel Seikai in Beppu

I came back yesterday afternoon from Hiroshima, barely escaping the closing of the airport for cause of typhoon closing in. The trip was short, but well-packed with fun and relaxation. I will split the story of the trip in several post to keep the not so photo intensive, and I’ll start with the hotel.

As I said previously, we arrived in Beppu in the afternoon for just one night and we spent this first half-day recovering from our long-long trip. We ended up with the square bath room in the end, but everything was just as perfect as in the brochure, I was thrilled.

our bath with the  sea view

After soaking up good and taking a little nap, we headed for the hotel’s restaurant for dinner. In a Japanese 旅館, the room always come with a special Japanese style dinner that is usually the highlight of your stay (at least for the locals, I’ve kept my european habits and put more importance in the quality of the room).

the menu was tooooo long

The dinner was excellent, with more courses than I could count. It kept on coming and coming: seaweeds, sashimi, japanese beef, monstrous shellfish, 唐揚げ, etc… We had to stop the guy at one point, we were stuffed. After a good glass of a fine local 日本酒, we headed to the hotel’s bar to take our dessert facing the beach with a couple glasses of 梅酒 and Whiskey.

The next day, we had requested our breakfast at 8:30 (the checkout was at 10AM) but never woke. The reception started calling around 8:45 and we ignored them, then some guy came around 9AM to hit relentlessly on the door until I finally opened.

Hotel guy: Your breakfast is waiting.
Me: I know, were not hungry.
*slams the door back shut*

I hate when people can’t take a hint… Anyways, apart for the breakfast obsessed reception guy, Hotel Seikai in Beppu gets my seal of approval and I recommend it to you if you’re ever in the vicinity.