Saturday, October 01, 2005

Summer Vacation - Kyushu

Summer break is over. For most of the summer season, I have spent working in the lab. It was hectic, at some point miserable and stressful. However, despite the busy schedule, I did allow myself a short holiday. My 'like-to-blah blah' friend and I went away for a summer vacation. I had some fantastic time in Kyushu Island - a volcanic island with beautiful hot springs and many other surprises.
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There are long distance ferry services from Osaka to Beppu (Oita Prefecture) at the Osaka Nanko International Ferry Terminal - one of the cheapest way to travel. The Sunflower ferry service that we took runs overnight (departure time : 1850 and arrival time: 0620) and it offers accommodation ranging from a simple futon rolled out on the floor of a large shared room (5140 yen per person) to more expensive private cabins.
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As the ship took off, we had our dinner and settled in for the night. Then we explored the ship deck. The ocean view was breathtaking. Even the bathroom window gave a good seaview.
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The ship arrived at the Beppu Bay. Five birds were seen on top of a lamp post.
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After arrival, we took a morning walk to the Beppu train station and it was quite a long way from the port.
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Takegawara Spa which offers regular bathing (100 yen) and sand bathing (1000 yen) is one of the oldest onsen in the Beppu area.
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Original elegant design as in the Edo Period. Takegawara Spa - a first glimpse, one might think it is a temple.
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We had an incredible hot bath before resuming our journey. I felt great after a good soak in hot mineral water.
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A breakfast treat at Mister Donut. The Beppu Foreign Tourist Information Center is located inside the Beppu Station. Very friendly frontdesk operators. We bought the one-day bus pass (student price, 700 yen) which allows unlimited travel on Kamenoi Company buses (blue-colored bus) in the city.
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Vast amount of steam gushing from the city - a natural setting and it was steam rising from many hells. To be continued ...

For more information, click here : Beppu City Guide

9 comments:

Amanda Brightwell said...

I love the shot you got taking the walk to the Beppu train station.


And... MMmmmmMMmmMMmmmMmm... donuts... *drool*

emotionalistic said...

The sunset picture you took is the best shot. Maybe because i love to see sun set :).

obachan said...

Oh, what a coincidnece! I've been to Takegawara onsen more than 6 years ago. I remember that the onsen was terribly hot there!! We tried sand bathing, too. I liked Beppu so much.

Patrick Leong said...

amanda : thanks. the picture does look nice (after abit of some photoshop editing - adjusted for color and contrast). actually my friend spotted this nice view. but at that one instant, the little child statue and the bicycle man coming together - it just became perfect (me thinks) !

emotionalistic : thanks. i love both sunrise and sunset. sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between both but this picture was actually taken during sunrise :P by the time when we embarked the ship before it took off, it was already quite dark for any sunset pictures.

obachan : cool ! i wanted to mention that as well. the water in the tub was particularly so hot. hotter than the usual that we have here in the kansai region. so hot to the extent, the ojisan in the bath offered to re-adjust the water temperature (i face-gestured that the water was obviously too hot - hot enough to boil a lobster). but after a few dips and adjustments, the feeling was so good ! i like to go there (beppu) again on a different season (let say spring or winter).

Acrix said...

regarding the photo with the caption "After arrival, we took a morning walk to the Beppu train station and it was quite a long way from the port.", is there any story bout the boy statue? Or izzit a real person?

Elisa said...

me encantó la imagen del "spa" :)
saludos!!

zbjernak said...

the ferry tkae you.... 12 hours?

the seagull are cute...

the bath however...look not very inviting though...like very dirty...place for people to wash laundry..
sorry

hehhehehehhehe

Eddie said...

the water looks dirty.. because actually it contains mineral .
the floor is a only dirty near the wall. anyway, it is a very old onsen... and cheap..

Patrick Leong said...

acrix : not sure the name of the garden. it seemed one classic garden landscaped with several statues of a mother and child.

elisa : do you have alot of hot springs in chile ?

zbjernak, eddie : i read in the net. takegawara spa is one of the oldest bath house in japan (built in 1879 and it is more than a century-old and is still managed by the same family). this place seems one of the best preserved ancient onsen in japan ! (zbjernak : WARNING - DO NOT WASH CLOTHES AT ANY ONSEN) and yes, the journey took us about 12 hours.