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3-Day Model Trip Day3


3-Day Model Trip Day3 / Kyushu / Yufuin - Beppu - tour of hot spring

Yufuin is one of only a few resorts on Kyushu that harmonizes well a simple mountain village with modern tourist facilities. I got up a little early so I could see Lake Kinrin-ko surrounded by morning mist, and went out for a quick walk. Lake Kinrin-ko is a small lake just 400 meters in circumference. It is famous for the scenery when mist rises there on winter mornings. When you arrive at the lake, it has a mysterious atmosphere because of the mist rising and covering the surface of the lake. Because the lake is small, you can easily walk round it. The lake is also attractive because the surrounding nature and the light make its appearance change with the angle it is seen from. Right near the lake is a simple communal bath with a thatched roof called Shitan-yu, which anyone can use. It is fun to sink into this simple bath at the side of the lake. There are twelve other communal baths at Yufuin that you can easily use. They are all reasonably priced, at several hundred yen each.

After walking round the lake, I went to Kyushu Yufuin-Mingei-Mura Folk Craft Village. This folk craft village contains a utensils museum where utensils from the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century are displayed, as well as close-up demonstrations by craftsmen with traditional skills, like making Japanese-style paper, bamboo crafts and glass blowing. You can also try making your own indigo dye or Japanese-style paper, and take home something you have made yourself as a souvenir. The watermill and storehouse have the nostalgic atmosphere of an old mountain village, making this a spot where it is easy to relax.

The road from the railway station to Lake Kinrin-ko is dotted with souvenir shops and galleries, so it is fun to choose souvenirs here. These souvenir shops each have their own individual character and stock different items, so you can lose yourself looking at the shop fronts. There are lots of handmade items to arouse your interest.

After enjoying a walk round Yufuin, I went to Beppu, a town rich in hot springs. Taking a hot spring bath is of course a popular activity in Beppu, but this time I decided to look round the so-called "jigoku - hells" that make up the source of hot springs. Looking round such "hells" means visiting wellsprings that give out hot water of around 100 degrees. I went round eight such wellsprings: Umi Jigoku, Yama Jigoku, Kamado Jigoku, Shiraike Jigoku, Oniyama Jigoku, Kinryu Jigoku, Chi-no-ike Jigoku and Tatsumaki Jigoku. Some of the wellsprings are cobalt blue, others are bluish white, and wherever you go there are puffs of steam rising from the hot spring sources. This is one of the few places you can see hot springs bubbling to the surface from close up. If you go close up, so much steam is rising that you cannot see in front of you, and the wellsprings have an overwhelming intensity. Scary just to look at are Chi-no-ike Jigoku ("Pond of Blood Hell"), which produces a bright red hot spring, and Tatsumaki Jigoku, which shoots 20 meters in the air. It really looks like a vision of hell.

Hot springs are usually so nice to sink into, and when you think that they originate in this way, it makes you marvel once more at the energy inside the earth. So many different kinds of "hell" can be seen in a single hot spring area because Beppu is one of the few places in the world that has so many different types of hot spring. However, these "hells" in fact provide more benefits than hell-like effects. At Yama Jigoku and Oniyama Jigoku, hippopotamuses and crocodiles are raised in the warmth surrounding the springs, while the hot spring mud at Chi-no-ike Jigoku is used to make an ointment that remedies skin diseases. Lots of shops sell hard-boiled eggs and steamed breads made in the hot springs' heat. Hot spring essence made from the constituents of the springs is also on sale.

Traveling in Kyushu, we can of course enjoy the rich nature and hot springs and the various aspects of culture and history that mingle there. Sometimes these are really surprising. The warm climate and gentle local people also make for a relaxing trip. No other trip can make the description "enrich the heart" seem so fitting.