Tuesday, January 15, 2008

rotenburo! onsen!

The bathing gets its own entry, of course.

I woke up at 5:28 am, I was that excited about seeing the sun rise from the rooftop rotenburo (hot tub, outdoor type). Also, 5:28 is an excellent time to take pictures that don't have other naked people in them. I leave it to your imagination whether I was wearing clothes or not when I took these.

Here is the changing room where you prepare for bathing.

These little wicker baskets hold your things while you are relaxing in hot water. That's my yellow towel.

Japanese-style showers. You sit on the stool and wash before entering the hot pool.

Hot pool! That thing on the right is a sort of underwater couch made of tile for sitting on. Comfort while bathing is essential. The box on the left is where the hot water comes from. You can sit under the waterfall if you like, and the water is hottest there. This is an onsen, so we're bathing in mineral spring water and there's no chlorine smell. Bliss.

This is how you get into the onsen. Those things with the rails are slanted underwater tile beds so you can lie back at an angle underwater. They have, in fact, thought of everything.

To the right of this picture, there's a dry sauna. The rotenburo is through the glass windows, and beyond them, if it were day, you could see the mountains. It is not day, and it was dark outside, so I didn't take a picture, but I watched the stars from the rotenburo on the roof until the sun came up. The funny thing about sunrise is that you think "ah! now! it is so bright, the sun must surely be about to come up!" and then that goes on for an hour as details slowly come out of the world around you and suddenly the sun is actually rising and there is contrast and light. And your fingers are more wrinkled than you remembered was possible.

Train official. They have great uniforms with hats.

The train home. Goodbye Yabuzuka!

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