Friday, October 7, 2011


Because of the marathon on Saturday, I had Monday off.  However, most of my friends did not.  So, I decided to go off and search for outdoor onsens.  I've gone island-hopping, and I've done bar-hopping, so on Monday, I went onsen-hopping at Kussharo Lake.  

One of my favorite things about Japan are its onsens.  Onsens are a little like hot tubs but come from natural hot springs.  Because of all the volcanic activity in Japan, there are hot springs everywhere.  Onsens are purported to have health benefits, and are used for relaxation and bathing. I found a total of six onsens, but one was occupied the whole time so I didn't take a photo, and the other looked like it might have required opening gates or crossing private property - not something I'd risk alone! 

Here are just a few pictures from my mini road trip. Enjoy!

Bihoro Togue Viewpoint

A view of Lake Kussharo

Lake Kussharo

A sign of fall!

Lake Kussharo

Onsen #1 - clean, pretty, but way too hot

The changing hut.  You can go nude if you want at any onsen.  Most onsens that are more strictly divided require that you are naked and showered before you can enter. A few naked men were in the onsen when I first parked. Luckily they were on their way out!

My favorite onsen of the trip! The big rock in the middle technically separates the men and women's sides. 


A random find...

Onsen #3 - nice temperature, very secluded

On my way to Onsen #4 - all the tour buses in the parking lot should've been an indication of the quality of the spot, but I stopped anyways. 

More tour buses!  All the peopled seemed to be speaking Chinese though.  

At onsen #4 area - aren't these rental boats cute?

The foot onsen - I'm not sure why this is famous.  You can buy 1,200 yen feet towels in the souvenir shops if you'd like to take a quick dip. 

Onsen #4 - a disappointment.  However, you can dig your own "onsen" in the sand around this onsen.  That seemed to be the main draw for the bus tours, though no one did it anyways.  They just took pictures.  I guess that's all I did at this place though too. 

Sunflower fields near Kitami.

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