This day we travelled with 1 train, to Beppu.
(blue skies 24C, renting bikes, cycle to stone Buddhas, train, help of strangers by car to hotspring, prepare for ASO)
Update created on 1 Nov 2009:
Nice weather today again. Sun and 25C.
We go by train to Usuki, which is south to Oito. At the railway station the bus is leaving ever 2 or 3 hours, but we already had seen and decided to rent the free bikes. We get two maps for the 6km bike tour to the stone buddhas. Its excellent weather and we really enjoy the cycling. Finally no walking ;-) Its an easy path, we drive left and on the pavement. At our destination we buy tickets and continue on foot to the buddhas. They are special, because there are so many of them and all made by carving in the rocks of the mountain. Cliff carving it is called and there are 4 clusters and 59 Buddhas in total. The largest is more than 3 meters tall. I get an extra thick spider in front of my lense and also some special and very tall Kinmei Moso Bamboo. We have a little picknick before jumping on the bikes again to cycle back to the station.
Hyotan Hot Springs, mooning to the moon.
After the Buddhas we go to Beppu, Oita-ken. There we want to find the Hot Springs we found in a brochure. Hyotan Hot Springs to be precise. It was a brochure with English explanation of how to reach and use the hot springs. Arriving at the station we have a feeling how to reach it, but its up the mountain and quite a trip by foot. We estimate a 3 kilometers uphill. While figuring out with the brochure and the city map near the station, some Japanese lady comes to us. She asks if we need help. With very limited English and a lot of pointing on the map, she understands where we want to go. She starts to talk in Japanese and smiles. We do not get it, but than she mentions “car” and “wait on my friend”. She wants us to drive there as soon as her friend arrives. Cool! Two students, one from Vietnam, also come to us and she is able to translate Japanese and English so within no time we all understand each other. So friendly people all over here. The car trip is about 15 minutes uphill, and we are really thankful we did not have to walk this. The people at the Hyotan Hot Spring explain the procedures and how to get the right tickets out of the vending machine. We need to rent a special robes for the sand baths. Interesting experience by the way. You lay down in the sand, which is heated by the Hot Springs, and than pile sand on top of yourself, lay steady and relax from the heat. From there you move on, no more mixed but only man or women baths. They are very relaxing and there is a variety of baths including: walking bath, cup bath, Hinoki bath, steam Inhalers etc. We spent about 2 hours in the baths. At a certain moment I am alone in the bath outside and watch the moon. Of course I can not prevent my self of making up a joke, that I am sitting here on my two full moons watching the moon. And if you think I am the only one being funny, I am not. In the brochure it says literally : “DO NOT pull the plug from the bath at anytime”. They do not intent to be funny, but with my mind set, it is. ;-)