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Archive for February, 2011

Pictures that can’t Be Posted

Posted by Heliocentrism on February 20, 2011

February 19, 2011

All Pictures

 

Ganesh and his GF

It’s a Sex Museum

Now when people think of Beppu they think of onsens. The city has an onsen on every block, just about.  When you drive around in the winter you can see steam coming out of every other building in town.

A few decades ago the city of Beppu was known for it’s sex industry. What exactly that means, I’m not sure. Either there were tons of prostitutes walking the streets here, or it was more legitimized with massage parlors and “health spas”. Supposedly, the Sex Museum serves in remembrance of the old days.

He seems content.

I was a little disappointed by the museum. It was very small. There was really nothing to learn. But most annoyingly, I couldn’t take many photos that I could post on Facebook.

This was not my first sex museum. Remember Loveland on Jeju Island? It was a very light hearted sex museum. There were many things to pose with, and take pictures of. Most of the naked people there were not real, and didn’t look real. It took a good few hours to see the whole of Loveland.

why?

Then there was another one I saw in China. It was small, but there were a lot of historical information. And like at Loveland, there wasn’t any real porn, just statues and props.

The one in Beppu seemed more like a porn parade or some guys basement collection on display. There wasn’t much to this museum and many of the electronic dioramas didn’t work. Many of the manikins looked too real to post pictures of them on Facebook. Overall it was… meh.

Some of the art came self-censored.

Some of the pictures came with a glass covering with sections of fogged glass. You could look around the glass by tilting your head if you want to see the graphic parts. If you don’t, like in the photo above, just line the fogged area up over the naughty bits.

Mark and his meal

A Restaurant that Brings out the Evil in Mark

It started a few weeks ago when Mark and I read a friend’s blog entry. I will pause here and let you read the post, because her telling of the story is better than anything I can write. I will put a picture here so you don’t have to worry about the spoilers below.

I’ll just order some sushi while I wait.

So, Mark will be heading to Korea soon and he will not be back for a month or two. So we decided to live it up, gastronomically, and treat ourselves to some sushi. Since we were going out for sushi, Mark wanted to try the fish that Megan had.

Yes. He read that blog and thought, “What a delicious sounding dish!”

ignore the green drink

At first Mark was disappointed because his fish wasn’t moving. It laid there with a stick through its head and tail, motionless. Mark ate his sushi wondering if he ordered the right thing. Half-way through his meal, the fish started its, well, death throws. There was no violent movement, but there was an obvious twitching.

So many options

I can read!

Overall the restaurant was great. In fact Mark and I are going back this Tuesday for dinner since Tuesdays are the cheapest nights to go. The sushi is only 90Yen per dish.

The sushi comes around on a conveyor belt along with other dishes, like fried chicken and fries. If you want a special dish, like living fish, or you just don’t want to wait for the salmon to come back around you can order dishes from the touch screen.

You don’t really need to know how read to use the touch screen, because there are pictures for most things. But drinks are another matter. Drinks have no pictures.

I was feeling thirsty and wanted some libations. I tapped on the drinks sections and scrolled through my options. I read like a 4-year-old sounding out letters then putting them together Sesame Street style.

I came across something that said メロン-something. “Melon! Mark it says Melon!” Mark was to busy sulking over his non-moving fish. But I was excited that my studying was finally starting to pay off.

All Pictures


 

Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to askwhatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan. I’ve never been a tourist.)

Beppu Sex Museum
(別府秘宝館)
Beppu Hihonkan

How to get there:

It’s across the street from one of the Hell onsens, Siraike-Jigoku.

  • Head north on route 10.
  • Turn left on route 500. (The turn is just before the Las Vagas pachinko parlor.)
  • Keep on 500, then make a sharp right at the light after the intersection with route 218. You should see lot of steam rising from the ground.
  • You can park in the lot of the Hell onsen or use the parking lot of the museum.

Address:

338-3 Shibuyu Kannawa
Beppu City

Oita Prefecture

Phone:

  • 0977 66 1385

Websites:

Cost:

  • 700YEN

Hours:

  • 9:00 – 17:00

****UPDATE****

This museum have since closed down

***************

Notes:

  • Be prepared to be completely embarrassed as you walk pass the array of sex toys for sale, if you in the wrong company.
  • This place does not feature any of the educational, or historical aspects of sex that most sex museums have; at least not in English.
  • This is just a place with lots of porn on display.
  • The museum is now closed.

Sushi-Meijin
(kaiten sushi)
(回転寿司)

How to get there:

The one we visited –

  • Go east on route 197 from Oita Station.
  • It is 2 lights past route 685 on the right side. If you pass the McDonald’s you’ve gone too far.
But, there are tons of them around. Just look out for a sign that advertises something for “105“.

Address:

寿司めいじん牧店
日本 〒870-0924 大分県大分市牧3丁目12−2

Phone:

  • 097-554-0377

Website

Cost:

  • The regular sushi is generally 105YEN per plate, with 2 pieces in it.
  • But it’s 90YEN on Tuesdays.
  • Other days have other specials, but my Japanese reading ability is not good enough to get more information.

Hours:

  • 11:00 – 22:00

Notes:

  • When it’s crowded, you will have to get a number from the machine and wait for your number to be called.
  • You can pick up anything from the conveyor belt or order it from the machine at your table. The price is the same.
  • When it’s time to leave, call over a waiter to add up your bill

 

Posted in Beppu 市, Japan, Kyūshū, Oita 県, Oita 市 | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

All I hear is “Closed”.

Posted by Heliocentrism on February 13, 2011

February 11-12, 2011

All Pictures

Who is that!?

1008 Buddhas

Mark planned this trip. He made and printed out the directions and everything. There was a three-day weekend and I told Mark I wanted to, “do something” so he put this all together.

Our first stop was to see a thousand and eight Buddha statues. Mark wasn’t too sure he could find this place because there wasn’t much information about it online. He knew the town it was in, but that was about it.

“What’s going on here?” “These foreigners are lost.”

We walked into a grocery store. I found a lady walking around and stopped her.

“Sumemasen. Egio-ga wakademas-ka?” (Excuse me. Do you speak English?)

She responded by saying something like, “not even a little bit” in Japanese. But, I didn’t let a little thing like her not knowing any English at all stop me.

“Renjoji Temple, doko des-ka?” (Where is Rejoji Temple?)

Then she did something that almost all Japanese people do when they have to answer a hard question. She tilted her head to one side and sucked in air through her mouth. Mark took out the map and handed it to her.

As she looked through it another lady passed by. I don’t speak Japanese but I imagined the conversation went something like this.

Lady 1 – “Oh let’s see…”

Lady 2 – “Hey what’s going on? There’s a foreigner standing right there… and is that guy there Korean or something?”

Lady 1 – “They want to go to Rejoji Temple. Do you know where that is?”

Lady 2 – “Oh yes. Took the grandkids there 2 years ago. Had a great time!”

Lady 3 – “Hey what’s going on? Why are there so many foreigners in this store?

Lady 2 – “They’re lost.”

Lady 3 – “You don’t say. It’s kinda like that time when that other foreigner and his friends were in this very store. Remember Ethel?”

Lady 4 – “Oh yes. A fine day that was!”

and so on.

Eventually, with the help of a small crowd of old ladies, we were able to find the temple on our map written in Kanji. So remember, dear reader, when lost in Japan, go to a grocery store to ask for directions.

The smart one is the one in the middle.

Of course we would have still missed the turn to the 1008 Buddhas had it not been for the giant lady in the picture at the start of this post. The roads on the map are a little ambiguous. We thought the turn was further down the road and we weren’t even looking out for signs yet.

We saw a huge statue sticking out on the horizon. We were wondering if we should go look at it before or after seeing the Buddhas. Mark concluded that since the 1008 Buddhas might be hard to find, we should check out the lady first. Then we might find someone who could give us better directions to the Buddhas.

There was no one there to ask for directions, but in our search for the path up to the big lady, we found the temple with the many Buddhas. Hazzah!

No touching!

Stalec-might?

Our next stop was the Underwater Cave. It was not hard to find at all. The drive was a bit scary due to the windiness of the supposedly, 2-lane back roads with drops off sheer cliffs. Some drivers seem to take these roads as a challenge and refuse to drive at a sane speed. I try to pull over whenever I can to let these types of drivers by. I think they should die alone and definitely without me.

It’s cold and wet

The cave was okay; nothing like Hwanseon Cave in Samcheok, but still worth seeing. There were many kitschy things to pose with and take photos of outside the cave. It might even be a nice place to go camping or “cabin-ing” in the summer.

Japan’s Niagara

Every country has its Niagara.

I travel a lot… a whole lot. Everywhere I go the locals of whatever country I’m in will say, “Go to such-and-such Falls. It’s the Niagara of this country.” Then I would make my way there, usually by hiking up or climbing some horribly steep mountain to see the falls, only to be disappointed.

I think to myself, “Have any of these people ever actually seen Niagara? If they did they would stop comparing this little trickle of water to it.”

Below is the Niagara of the US and Canada; otherwise known as just Niagara Falls. Notice how small the 100-passenger boat looks in comparison. The falls in the picture above does not have enough water to float a dinghy, much less a 100-passenger vessel. …And the picture below is of only part of Niagara. There is more to the left out of the shot.

Niagara’s Niagara

So, lets all agree that Harajiri Falls is no Niagara. That said, it was still very nice. If I lived in Ogata I would come here for a picnic at least once a month.

There was a terrifying, but, hopefully safe, rope bridge to walk across. Nearby there was a lovely restaurant. The falls came with more that ample free parking, which I love. And I think it’s worth a trip here just to get some nice photos.

This was when our timing and good luck ran out…

“Put snow chains on your tires, now!”

Tie me up in chains

We left the county… I mean prefecture. We were going to see a volcano, a mound, and then maybe a bridge that spouts water. Now I must digress from my tale a bit to tell you about something we happened upon.

Three times on this trip we heard some weird sounding music. The first time it happen, we just thought that someone in the car ahead or behind us was play their music at full blast on very bad speakers. The second time it happen we knew exactly where the music was coming from. The third time, we recorded it.

We were driving over a musical road. If the road were to be thought of as a record, then my tires would be the needle and my car itself would be the cone-shaped part of a gramophone. Take a listen…

Alright, back to the story…

Mark and I went all the way up Aso mountain, or as far as we could drive for free. When we got to the toll road it was closed. We were an hour too late. It was 17:00 in the evening. Even though Oita city is about a 2.5 hour drive from where we were in Aso, I didn’t want to go home. I still had hopes of seeing the volcano the next day and it didn’t make sense to drive home to then drive back.

Unplanned overnight trips and sitting by wood burning stoves and now my favorite things.

I remembered that we passed a hostel on our way up the mountain. Mark and I decided that if the cheapest room cost 4,000YEN per person per night or less, we would stay.

We pulled into the hostel’s parking lot right in from a big hand written sign that said, “¥2,000 a night”. We thought nothing of it. Many motels have “bait and switch” prices to lurk customers in. When a traveler goes in and asks about the advertised price, he or she is told that those rooms are all taken, or that the sign is quoting a weekday price…

It’s just us.

Well, the sign was accurate. It really was 2,000YEN per person per night; no strings attached. The hostel is run by two sweet old ladies, who speak a little English. That night we were the only guests.

The ladies worried about how our trip would go. “Tomorrow many snow,” one told us. “You car have tire chain?” It didn’t. “Maybe bus better…”

They had the bus scheduled hung up in the lounge. We planned to take the bus up the mountain and then the “ropeway” to the crater if there was indeed “many snow” the next day. …which there was.

It’s like a snow cloud threw up everywhere!

At 9:50 we were standing at the bus stop to wait for the 9:55 bus. We waited in the cold. The wind whipped at our backs. Even though I had on my pajamas under my jeans and yesterday’s dirty socks over today’s clean ones, I felt grossly under-dressed.

There was an electronic sign hanging over the road. Many cars would drive up to it, then turn around and head back to town. Mark and I speculated on what the sign said. “Maybe the road is closed…” “Maybe there is a horrible accident up the road…” “Maybe our bus isn’t coming…”

We took a picture of the sign and walked back to the hostel. We showed the picture to one of the ladies. “Put chain on tire,” is what she read. At that moment our bus drove by, without us.

The next bus wouldn’t pass by for another hour. Mark and I decided to drive down to the bus station and catch the bus there. That way, we could wait indoors and maybe get a cup of hot coffee. Besides, if it started to snow harder, it would be better to not have to drive down the mountain later.

When it’s icy enough, you can just slide down Aso.

We walked into the bus station’s ticket office. There was a small line. I over heard a Korean couple asking about the bus to the top of Aso mountain. The Japanese ticket clerk didn’t speak English very well, but he managed to say that the bus was still running, but the cable car and the toll road were closed.

A German couple behind us in line asked if we could walk to the crater. Incredulously, I said, “But that’s a 3 kilometer walk; there’s no way it can be done in that snow!” The German lady seemed to like the challenge and responded, “I can do it.” Her husband nodded in agreement.

By then the resident English speaker of the bus station had stepped out. “No, you cannot. It is not allowed. The mountain is closed today because of the snow” Marked asked if it would be open tomorrow. “Maybe, but don’t count on it.”

We drove back to Oita with heavy hearts.

This looks a bit sketchy…

Wild Onsens

Back in our neck of the woods, we drove over to Beppu to look for some free outdoor onsens. They are referred to as “wild onsens” which make them sound even more appealing.

That’s not a good.

We knew of 3 and planned to test them all out by doing a little onsen hopping. But the first one had no water. The other two were completely closed off with a locked gate and a sign like the one in the picture above.

Last August a woman named, Hiromi Yokote from Kobe while alone near the Nabeyama-no-yu onsen was murdered. The Police are apparently still looking for suspects and/ or witnesses.

All the wild onsens that Mark and I know about in Beppu are closed. I’m not sure if it is because of the murder or the season.

Warming up

Our plan B was to go to any of the many private onsens in the area, but they were all full or separated by gender. So we ended up going to an onsen that we had both been to before.

All in all, it was a very good weekend!

All Pictures


 

Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your banktoaskwhatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan. I’ve never been a tourist.)

Uchiyama Kannon
(内山観音) &

Yuchizan Renjoji Temple
(蓮城寺)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 32°57’22.8″N 131°35’01.1″E

From Oita City by car –

  • Take route 10 south. Follow 10 to Inukai.
  • Be careful, in or near Inukai do not get on the Inukai By-Pass.
  • Instead go onto route 326.
  • Route 326 will then merge with route 502 heading west.
  • Take 502 heading west.
  •  When routes 326 and route 502 splits, stay with route 326.
  • When you see this sign, follow it to Uchiyama Kannon.
  • (If you pass the gas station you’ve missed it. But you can turn at the gas station. See the google map below.
    •  The Giant lady in the mountain should also be a clue that you’re near the temple.)
  • You will find 2 temples. One is right by the parking lot. The other is a 1 minute walk away.
  • The giant statues is a little walk up a trail by the second temple.

Address:

大分県豊後大野市三重町内山527

Phone:

  • 0974-22-2616 Mie-cho Tourist Association (Japanese)

Website:

Cost:

  • Free

Hours:

  • Always available

Notes:

Lots of free parking and a decent public bath, but you will have to bring your own soap.


Inazumi Stalactite Grotto /
Underwater Cave Inazumi

(稲積水中鍾乳洞)
(Inadzumi Suichūshōnyūdō)

How to get there:

  • Coordinate 32°54’01.4″N 131°32’36.5″E

From Oita City by car –

  • Take route 10 south.
  • Follow 10 to Inukai.
  • Be careful, in or near Inukai do not get on the Inukai By-Pass.
  • Instead go onto route 326.
  • Route 326 will then merge with route 502 heading west.
  • Take 502 heading west.
  • When routes 326 and route 502 splits, stay with route 502.
  • After you pass Bungo-Kiyokawa Station look out for route 45.
  • Take route 45 heading south.
  • You will see a sign for the cave on your right, eventually.

By bus/train –

(from wikipedia-Japanese) –

Address:

稲積水中鍾乳洞〒879-7263 大分県豊後大野市三重町大字中津留300番地

Phone:

  • 0974-26-2468

Website:

e-mail: Info@Inazumi.com

Cost:

  • 1,200YEN/ Adult

Hours:

  • 9:00 – 17:00

Notes:


 Harajiri Falls
(原尻の滝)
(Harajiri no Taki)

How to get there:

  • 32°57’55.9″N 131°27’08.0″E

From Oita City by car –

  • Take route 10 south.
  • Follow 10 to Inukai.
  • Be careful, in or near Inukai do not get on the Inukai By-Pass.
  • Instead go onto route 326.
  • Route 326 will then merge with route 502 heading west.
  • Take 502 heading west.
  • When routes 326 and route 502 splits, stay with route 502.
  • When you get to the town of Ogata look out for route 7.
  • Turn left on route 7.
  • The falls are about 200 meters down route 7.

By bus/train –

(from wikipedia-Japanese) –

Address:

大分県豊後大野市緒方町原尻936-1

Phone:

  • 0974-42-4140

Website

Cost:

  • Free

Hours:

  • Always available, though the restaurant and shops nearby do close.

Notes:

Free Parking


Kumamoto Aso Youth Hostel
(阿蘇ユースホステル)
(Aso Yūsu Hosuteru)

How to get there:

From Oita City by car –

  • Take route 10 south. Follow 10 to Inukai.
  • Then get on Route 57 (Inukai-Chitose).
  • There are 2 Route 57’s. If you get on the wrong one it doesn’t matter. They both basically* go the same place. One is just more windy than the other.
  • *Route 57 (Inukai-Chitose) will end somewhere in Onomachi Tanaka. When this happens just head north on route 26 to route 57 (Higo Highway).
  • Once you’ve left Oita Prefecture and you’ve passed the windy mountain area look out for route 111.
  • Take a left onto route 111.
  • The hostel will be on your left before the information center.

Address:

922-2 Kurokawa Aso-shi, Kumamoto 869-2225 Japan

Phone:

  • 096-34-0804

Website:

Cost:

  • 2,000YEN/ night

Notes:

  • This place is run by 2 little old lady who speak a little English. They are both very nice.
  • It does not have a restaurant, but there is a Joyfull (not Joyful,butJoyfull) not too far away on route 57.
    • Turn right from route 111 onto route 57. It’s next to a Family Mart.

 Mount Aso 
(阿蘇山)
(Asosan)
Komezuka
(米塚)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 32°53’12.7″N 131°05’03.0″E

From Oita City by car –

  • Take route 10 south. Follow 10 to Inukai.
  • Then get on Route 57 (Inukai-Chitose).
  • There are 2 Route 57’s. If you get on the wrong one it doesn’t matter. They both basically* go the same place. One is just more windy than the other.
  • *Route 57 (Inukai-Chitose) will end somewhere in Onomachi Tanaka. When this happens just head north on route 26 to route 57 (Higo Highway).
  • Once you’ve left Oita Prefecture and you’ve passed the windy mountain area look out for route 111. Take a left onto route 111.
  • For Aso Mountain take route 111 all the way to the toll road, where 111 ends. You can then take the cable car up for 1,000YEN round trip/ person or drive up the toll road for 560YEN/ car.
  • For Komezuka turn right onto route 298. You should see Komezuka in 1 kilometer.

Website:

Cost:

  • Cable Car Ride – 600Yen one way, 1,000Yen round trip
  • To drive up to the top – 560YEN per car

Hours:

  • The toll road and cable car to Mount Aso are open 9:30 to 16:30 when the weather permits.
Videos:
about volcanoes:

Notes:

  • Don’t go in the winter to avoid the chances of you going all the way out there only to find that it’s closed due to snow.
  • It is recommended that people with asthma, bronchitis, or heart disease should not go to the top of Mount Aso.

Free Onsens in Beppu

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 33°18’41.1″N 131°26’34.8″E

Mostly you will get lost.

By Car from Oita –

  • Take route 10 heading north. When you see “Las Vagas” turn left on route 500.
  • Pass the Hells of Beppu and stay on route 500.
  • Be careful, because route 500 turns. If you find yourself in route 11, you weren’t paying attention.
  • Grave-side onsen – (If you anything bigger than a small kei-car forget about this one. Your car should also have very good breaks.)
    • Before you pass under the expressway, you will see a shrap turn on your left. You will look at it and think, there is no way in hell my car, or any car for that matter, can make it up that hill.
    • Go up that hill.
    • Follow it until you have to make a turn.
    • Turn right there and go under the expressway.
    • Drive as far as you can pass the hundreds of graves.
    • When you almost get to a round-about you will see a flat area on the left where you can park.
    • Park your car and walk up the hill.
    • Then follow the path to the onsen.
  • Nabeyama-no-yuandHebi-no-yu- (I only got as far as the gate)
    • After you pass under the expressway, route 500 will take a sharp turn right.
    • You will leave route 500 and go straight.
    • Keep going straight even though you will begin to think that you can’t possibly still be on a drivable road.
    • Honk your horn around corners if it makes you feel safer. Who knows, it might help.
    • This road leads you straight to the gate. Then you’re on your own.

Cost:

  • Free

Hours:

  • Always available

Notes:

  • When I went there all 3 of these were closed or had no water in them. It might be because of the season, the murder, or a combination of the two.
  • *Update: The police have apprehended a suspect in the murder of Hiromi Yokote.

 

Kitahama Termas Onsen
(北浜温泉/テルマス)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 33°17’09.5″N 131°30’18.5″E

By Car –

  • Drive to Beppu at way of route 10 which is also route 52 through downtown Beppu.
  • It’s along route 10/52 and across the street from a pachinko parlor; what isn’t in Japan? The nearby landmarks near would be Beppu Central Hostipal and a short swimmable section of beach.

By Public Transportation –

  • Go to Beppu Station.
  • Exit through the east end of the station.
  • Head east until you reach route 10.
  • Then go north on route 10 until you pass Beppu Central Hospital.
  • Cross the street and look out for the osen.

Address:

11-1, Kyo Beppu

or

別府市京町11-1

Phone:

  • 0977-24-4126

Websites:

Cost:

  • Adult – 500JPY
  • Kids – 250JPY
  • You can bring your own towel, razor, or what have you, or you can rent them.
  • Shampoo, conditioner, and soap are free.
  • Parking is free

Hours:

  • 10:00 – 22:00
  • Admittance ends at 21:00

Notes:

  • This is a co-ed onsen, so you must wear a swimsuit when you go outdoors. You can go naked in the gender segregated areas.
  • Every now and then they change the gender of the locker rooms. So don’t head off to change in one direction that was the lady’s area the last time you came.
  • You will need to have a 100 yen coin to put your shoes in a small locker in the main lobby. Everyone must have their own locker and you will get your coin back when you retrieve your shoes.
  • Give your shoe locker key to the front desk clerk and he or she will give you a corresponding key to the lockers in the gender segregated area. Put your stuff in that locker.
  • Take a shower. Put on your swim suit and head outdoors.
  • There is also a sauna and a bucket of freezing cold water that you can torture yourself with.

Map:

Posted in Aso 市, Beppu 市, Bungo-ōno 市, Japan, Kumamoto 県, Kyūshū, Mie 町, Ogata 町, Oita 県, Ōno 郡 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Rabbit

Posted by Heliocentrism on February 6, 2011

February 4-6, 2011

All Pictures

Let the celebrations begin!

Anyone can join.

A few weeks ago I was at a slumber party over at my neighbor’s house. Yes, I said, “slumber party”. You would be surprised how much fun a sleepover can be, even for adults…

Anyway, one of the girls at the party told everyone about her plans to see the Nagasaki Lantern Festival. She said that she was doing all the planning and invited anyone who wanted to come along. Of course, I rarely turn down trip invitations.

Mark on the Nagasaki trolley

Is there a cheaper way?

The group of girls planned on taking the train from Oita to Nagasaki. Well, there were actually two trains. Each would cost more than $40. That means to get to Nagasaki would cost about $90, to get back, about $180. And, for both Mark and I to go there and come back it would cost about $360.

So we decided it would be cheaper for us to drive. It would also be quicker and we wouldn’t have to spend a lot of time waiting for trains.

Was it cheaper? Well…

Driving Items Cost (YEN) Train Items Cost (YEN)
Gas 4,000 Train Oita – Fukuoka 5,225
Toll 4,450 Train Fukuoka – Nagasaka 4,410
Return Toll 4,450 Return 9,635
Parking 2,600 Mark’s tickets 19,270
Total 15,500 Total 38,540

It seems like it was, unless there was someway to get tickets to Nagasaki for less than 7,700YEN each.

There was the added benefit that the train trip would have taken about 5 hours. But it took about 2.5 hours to drive to Nagasaki from Oita.

Once in Nagasaki we parked to car at the cheapest parking lot near the hostel and left it there. The 500YEN each cost of the day pass for the trolley was cheaper than moving the car and paying for parking elsewhere.

“I never look for my friends. It is their job to find me!”

We’ll meetup eventually, I hope.

Normally I would have offered to give a ride to anyone going on the trip, but I didn’t know when Mark and I would leave. When I got home from work on Friday Mark and I ate dinner then scrambled to do some last minute chores before heading out.

We left Oita after everyone else. But because driving is so much faster than taking the train, we still managed to get to Nagasaki before anyone in our group; a long time before. Mark and I were sitting in the lounge watching a movie when most of the girls arrived. They were too tired to do anything that night and headed off to bed.

“It too early for crowds!”

The next morning Mark and I woke up and talked with some of the girls to see what they had planned for the day. Half of them were still asleep, so Mark and I decided to head out to Peace Park and meet up with the girls later. But we would end up seeing very little of them throughout the day.

Found it!

Forever ever?

So the plan was to go to Peace Park then call the group to see where we should go to meet up with them. But there was always something to see not too far from where we were that we wanted to see before calling them.

One of the little “must sees” was Spectacle Bridge. According to our little map, that was given to us by our hostel, if we found the heart shaped stone and touched it together, we would stay together forever.

I have no idea where this stone was. Mark and I spent a good 20 minutes looking for it with no luck. Then Mark found the stone in the picture above that, at certain angles, could look a bit heart-ish. That was good enough for us!

There’s something amazing on stage. Just ask that kid about it.

Happy Year of the Rabbit!

We saw the Lunar New Year’s festivities, or as much of it as we could see behind the heads of kids on their dads’ shoulders. During the Dragon Dancing we did find and lose our friends.

They were going to see something we had seen earlier and we were going to see something that they had seen earlier. We promised to meet up again before going back to the hostel. But while waiting for them, I got cold and tired so Mark and I walked along the river. We didn’t meet up again.

Maybe the next trip, we’ll have better luck.

All Pictures


 

Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find;moreso if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank toaskwhatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan. I’ve never been a tourist.)

Akari International Hostel

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 32°44’56.2″N 129°52’58.0″E

From JR Nagasaki station, or Highway bus terminal –

  • Take a tram from Nagasaki eki mae station just in front.
  • Tram No 3 towards ‘Hotarujaya’ will take you to ‘Kokaido mae’station in 4mins.
  • Get off there and take the only road which does NOT have a tram rail on the road, and walk straight. (If you are arriving at night time, it is toward a building with Blue and Orange blinking sign on top.)
  • When you see the river, cross the bridge and turn left immediately.
  • Soon, you will see our hostel’s orange sign ‘AKARI’ on your right, at the riverside.
  • (It is a 4-storied buiding)

Address:

長崎県長崎市麹屋町2-2
2-2 Kojiyamachi, Nagasaki-city,
Nagasaki, 850-0871 Japan

Phone:

  • +81-95-801-7900

Website:

e-mail: akari@nagasaki-hostel.com

Cost:

  • Dorm rooms – 2500YEN/night

Hours:

  • Check In 15:00-20:00
  • Check Out 11:00
  • Reception open from 8:00-20:00pm and Closed for lunch 13:00-15:00

Notes:

You can get a day pass for the tram at the reception.


Nagasaki One Day Trolley Pass

How to get there:

  • You have to go to a hotel, hostel, or a souvenir shop to buy one.
  • You cannot get one on the trolley.

Phone:

  • 095-845-4113
Website:

Cost:

  • Adult 500YEN
  • Kid 250YEN

Hours:

  • Good only for the date stamped on the pass.
  • This is not a 24hr pass.

Notes:

The following are other ticket options for the trolley.


Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall
(国立長崎原爆死没者追悼平和祈念館)
(Kokuritsu Nagasaki Genbaku Shibotsusha Tsuitō Heiwa Kinenkan)

How to get there:

From Nagasaki Airport –

  • Take a limousine bus to Matsuyama stop.
  • The Hall is about 5 minutes walk from here.

From Nagasaki station –

  • Take a tram or local bus to Hamaguchi (#20) or Matsuyama (#19) stop.
  • It is a 5 minute walk from here.

Address:

The Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Victims
852-8117 Nagasaki-shi, Hirano-machi 7-8

Phone:

  • 095-814-0055

Website

Downloads:

e-mail:info@peace-nagasaki.go.jp

Cost:

  • Free

Hours:

  • 8:30 – 17:30 or 18:30

Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum
(長崎原爆資料館)
(Nagasaki Genbaku Shiryōkan)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 32°46’22.1″N 129°51’52.2″E

Streetcar –

  • Take street car #1 or #3,
  • get off at Hamaguchi-machi,
  • it is just a five minute walk.

Bus –

  • Take the bus for Nameshi, Togitsu, and Menoto,
  • get off at Hamaguchi-machi (#20),
  • it is just a five minute walk.

This is right next to the Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall.

Address:

Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum
7-8 Hirano-machi, Nagasaki, 852-8117, Japan

Phone:

  • +81-(0)95-844-1231

Website

Download:

e-mail: genbaku@city.nagasaki.lg.jp

Cost:

  • 200YEN

Hours:

  • 8:30 – 17:30
  • (admission until 17:00)

Nagasaki Peace Park 
(平和公園)
(Heiwa Kōen)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 32°46’31.6″N 129°51’47.0″E

Streetcar –

  • Take street car #1 or #3, get off at Hamaguchi-machi (#20),
  • it is just a five minute walk.

Bus –

  • Take the bus for Nameshi, Togitsu, and Menoto,
  • get off at Hamaguchi-machi,
  • it is just a five minute walk.

This is within walking distance of the Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall and the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum.

Website

Cost:

  • Free

Hours:

  • Always available

Twenty-Six Martyrs Museum and Monument

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 32°45’16.7″N 129°52’18.1″E

By Trolley –

  • Go to Nagasaki Eki-Mae (#27)

Address:

Nishizaka-machi 7-8, Nagasaki City, 850-0051 Japan

Phone:

  • 095-822-6000

Website

Cost:

  • 500YEN

Hours:

  • 9:00 – 17:00

Notes:

You can go into the museum if you think it’s worth it.


Spectacle Bridge
(眼鏡橋)
(Megane Bashi)

How to get there:

  • 32°44’49.8″N 129°52’48.3″E

By Trolley –

  • Go to either Nigiwasashi (#37) or Kokaido-Mae (#38) stations and walk to the river.

Address:

日本〒850-0874 長崎県長崎市魚の町

Phone:

  • 095-829-1152

Website

Cost:

  • Free

Hours:

  • Available at any time

Notes:

  • Supposedly, if you are single and you find the heart shaped stone you will find your true love if you touch it.
  • For couples who find and touch the stone, they will stay together forever.

Kazagashira Park
(風頭公園)
(Kazagashira Kōen)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 32°44’46.0″N 129°53’09.6″E

By Trolley –

  • Go to Kokaido-Mae (#38) station and follow the signs to the park.
  • You will have to walk up the mountain through a cemetery.
  • It’s a half an hour walk.

Address:

3-565 Irabayashi, Kazagashira-machi
Nagasaki, Kyushu-Okinawa 850-0802

Kazagashira Park
日本
〒850-0802 長崎県長崎市伊良林3丁目565

Phone:

  • 095-829-1171

Cost:

  • Free

Hours:

  • It might close sometime after sunset.

Notes:

The statue in the park is of Sakamoto Ryōma.


China Town
(長崎新地中華街)
(Nagasaki Shinchichūkagai)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 32°44’31.2″N 129°52’32.6″E

By Trolley –

  • Go to Tsuki-Machi (#31) Station.

Website

Cost:

  • Free

Notes:

Map:

Posted in Japan, Kyūshū, Nagasaki 県, Nagasaki 市 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Cold Day in Hell

Posted by Heliocentrism on February 3, 2011

January 30, 2011

All Pictures

The gates of hell

I finally went to Hell.

I have been planning on going to Hell since my mom and nephew came to visit. The list of reasons I haven’t gone yet just kept getting longer and longer. When Mark got back to Japan from his trip to Korea I told him that he had to take me to Hell. Every weekend since we have planned to go, but something has always come up.

RUN!

Then this week we decided to put away all our excuses and go to Hell. We were going to wake up early-ish on Saturday and make a day of it. But that didn’t happen.

We actually spent the day watching Star Trek. (Yes, I said it!) By noon, we did not feel like going out into the cold and driving to Beppu. But we promised each other that Sunday would be the day for Hell.

thirsty

Is that snow!?

On Sunday we got up early-ish, got dressed, and headed out the door. When we opened the door of the apartment we saw that it was snowing. A part of me wanted to turn right around and stay in my warm apartment, but I knew that if I didn’t go that day, I would never go.

Smells like an atomic fart.

Lamer in Person

I have to say that photos of Beppu’s Hell don’t do it justice. Wait, I mean they do it more than justice. It looks way cooler in pictures than it does in real life. And that’s not just because I was cold the whole time. The pictures make Beppu’s Hell out to be a super exciting and exotic steamy place, but it’s just steamy. Plus there’s no rotting egg smell in the photos.

The “zoo” at one of the onsens is very sad. They have a hippo, an elephant, and some flamingos freezing out in the snow. I’m not sure, but I think that counts as cruelty to animals.

The onsens are nice to look at, but not as nice and the pictures present them. It would be better if people could get in and warm up. But the hot springs are too hot for that. It would literally cook you if you fell in. In fact, at one of the onsens, you can buy eggs that were cooked in the hot spring.

now to defrost my feet

I recommend a visit if you’re in the neighborhood, but don’t come all the way out here for this.

All Pictures


 

Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to askwhatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan. I’ve never been a tourist.)

Beppu Hell Onsen
(Beppu Jigoku)
(別府地獄)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 33°18’57.2″N 131°28’10.8″E

From Oita City –

  • Head north on route 10.
  • Turn left on route 500. (The turn is just before the Las Vagas pachinko parlor.)
  • Keep on 500,
  • then turn right at the light after the intersection with route 218. You should see lot of steam rising from the ground.
  • Park anywhere that’s reasonable.
  • Six of the Hell osens are within walking distance of each other.
  • There are two others that are about a 5 minute drive from the directions given above.

By Bus –

  • Take bus #2, #5, #9, #41, or #43 from JR Beppu Station to the Umijigoku-mae stop

Address:

There are 8 Hell Onsens. Seven of which, are within a walking distance from each other. The other two are a bus or car ride away. Please ask at the ticket counter for bus information.

  1. Oniishibozu Jigoku (鬼石坊主地獄)
  2. UmiJigoku (海地獄)
    • 別府地獄めぐり
      日本
      〒874-0000 大分県別府市大字鉄輪559−1
      0977-66-1577
  3.  Yama Jigoku (山地獄)
  4. KamadoJigoku (かまど地獄)(Cooking Pot Hell)
    • かまど地獄
      日本
      〒874-0045 大分県別府市御幸5
      0977-66-0178
  5. Oniyama Jigoku (鬼山地獄)
  6. Shiraike Jigoku (白池地獄)
  7. Tatsumaki Jigoku (龍巻地獄)
  8. ChinoikeJigoku (血の池地獄) (BloodOnsen)
    • 別府 血の池地獄
      野田778 Beppu, Oita Prefecture 874-0016, Japan

Phone:

  • 0977-66-1577

Website (Blood Onsen)

Download:

Cost:

  • 400YEN each or
  • 2,000YEN for all 8

Hours:

  • 8:00 – 17:00
  • Go to Tatsumaki-Jigoku (the onsen with the geyser last if you’re running out of time because this one stays open later so that visitor can see the geyser blow at the end of the day.)

Notes:

  • It might not be worth a trip all the way to Beppu just to see this. But if you are in Oita prefecture, why not?
  • You cannot get into any of the hell onsen. There are a couple that you can put your feet into, but no full body soaking.

Map:

Posted in Beppu 市, Japan, Kyūshū, Oita 県 | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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