After the ridiculously heavy dinner yesterday, I only had light breakfast during our fifth day in Japan.
|bread and fishcakes|
Before leaving Kirishima Kokusai Hotel, I made sure to buy the unflattering picture (read: flash photography) taken of me from when I first arrived at the hotel. Tourist trap alert!
From Kirishima, we had a long morning drive (4 hours and 30 minutes) to Beppu, the hot spring region of Japan. We knew we were almost there when we reached this foggy area...
We arrived at Beppu at around 1 p.m. and had late lunch at Beppu Kaisen Seafood Market.
|Beef Noodle Soup|
In Beppu, there are nine major geothermal hot springs or pools called the Nine Hells of Beppu. Each pool has its own unique color and character but we only visited two out of the nine pools.
First up was the most popular and the most photogenic of the the pools, Chinoike Jigoku or the Boiling Blood Pool. The pool got its name from the large amount of ferrous minerals found at the bottom, giving it a bright red color that could be easily mistaken for blood.
Here's a closer look:
Aside from observing red steam come out of the pool, one can also take a quick foot dip in the Boiling Blood Pool's hot spring. Just make sure to wear the appropriate footwear to avoid any inconvenience.
Next door from the Boiling Blood Pool was Tatsumaki Jigoku or the Dragon Whirlpool. The Dragon Whirlpool is a boiling geyser...
sprouting hot water 20 meters into the air, every 30 minutes. There was nothing spectacular about the geyser, to be honest, but it's still wort a visit if one is already in the area.
Our last stop at Beppu was Wakiya Shoukai. The straw thatched roof found at Wakiya Shoukai is where hot spring powder called yunohana is produced.
Yunohana, as explained by the man below is a natural product extracted from the hot spring water. Yunohana is said to have many medical benefits, effective in treating many skin diseases, muscle stiffness, rheumatism, etc.
Aside from selling yunohana, Wakiya Shoukai also has a small gift shop where cute Japanese items are available. Be warned though that we learned later that everything was overpriced.
Needing to kill time at Wakiya Shoukai before going on a cruise that will bring us to Kobe from Beppu, we took our sweet time eating these healthy snacks:
When it was finally dark, we embarked on the Sunflower Pearl. I looked forward to a night spent at sea.
My excitement, however, quickly turned to disappointment when I learned that the Sunflower Pearl is more of a cargo vessel than a cruise ship.
Needless to say, amenities were basic:
Our room was also very compact that I felt claustrophobic.
The main challenge though was the realization that we didn't have our own bathroom. It was not fun to share the bathing facilities with 50 other people.
For a supposedly more enjoyable experience, one can use the "scenic bathroom..."
but one needs to be in his birthday suit; thus, it was unsurprising that nobody dared.
|The "Scene" in the Scenic Bathroom|
Dinner on the Sunflower Pearl was a sad buffet of Chinese and Japanese food.
After the unsatisfying dinner, we went out the viewing deck where the eerie darkness of the sea greeted us. With nothing else to do, we took this as our cue to sleep.
Our fifth day in Japan admittedly was not the best of times. Save for the Boiling Blood Pool visit, I would not have minded if we skipped this day altogether.