Takaragawa Onsen

Onsen Room
Originally uploaded by apes_abroad.

Never got to mention the onsen we visited a few weeks ago because I kept trying to fit all its awesomeness into phrase and couldn’t. Well let me spit it out: it was, awesome. The Takaragawa Onsen is supposedly one of the most beautiful and large outdoor hotsprings in Japan, and co-ed which is unusual. It was more breathtaking and romantic than I’d imagined it could be.

We were set up in the old building pictured here, with a rushing river all around our corner room. We donned yukatas for two days and drank tea in oldtimey Japanese surroundings. Were treated to the most extraordinary dinner of our lives – so many courses we couldn’t count them all, many of them needing to be cooked or wrapped or dipped or in some way prepared, so it was as entertaining as it was delicious. Breakfast was a similar traditional feast, and we tried natto for the first time.

Okay, and so, the onsen: up in the mountains away from everything, forest and trees all around, and a rushing river a few feet away. The four pools could comfortably fit 15-20 people each, but it’s just us and a couple of old guys with season’s passes. Carved out of rock, decorated with stone statues and wooden pavilions. We stayed in until midnight then came out again after breakfast.

The onsen’s theme was bears, because there were supposedly a lot around (we were given sticks with bells on them to use when hiking), and because they had a caged area with a few of the little black bears in it. We met a little 2 month old bearling as he was being let out to romp around the place. He was so excited he could hardly walk on all those floppy legs. They let the bears bathe in the pools sometimes, even.

So, a wonderful time was had. It was so romantic even that Colin proposed to me – yay! We’re going to get married! At some point! :)

Look, I’m wearing my yukata backwards in this shot and drinking my tea with only one hand. Don’t worry, I figured things out eventually. ^_^


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