Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Japan Nikko Okukinu Kaniyu Onsen Trip December 2011

We travelled to Okukinu, Nikko for the Kaniyu Onsen trip. It was a gruelling day where we had to wait up early in the morning to catch the 6.20am? train to Nikko. Truth to be told, everyone of us were very amazed by the cold, and the braveness of young girls who bare their legs in winter. Cold~~

Girls with mini-skirts. Zai~

As we got there very early, we went to the shrines in Nikko before heading back to shimoimaichi station to wait for the bus pickup to the onsen. We spent the whole morning visiting the temples (Toshogu Shrine, Futarasan Shrine, Rinnoji Temple, Shinkyo Bridge) and having a super quick lunch before rushing off for our train. That was very scary...

The 2 and 1/2 hr van/bus journey was peaceful and awesome. We were the only foreigners in the van, and since the Japanese couldn't speak English, I had to translate roughly for the rest. It was the first time seeing snow, and as the van moves higher and higher up the mountain, I could see the snow falling onto the path, and it was uber cool.

I was reading up on kinugawa as part of the pre-trip preparations, and learnt that most of the people had migrated out to other places, and the place shows it all. It was a very big contrast from the cities, where everything was modern and clean. The garbage that has been piled up from the debris, and the lack of maintenance clearly showed the decline of Japan's rural areas.

After passing through all these sad buildings, and up a windy and dangerous mountain road, we arrived at Kaniyu Onsen. That was the time when I realised that we are one of the lucky ones who managed to get a ride up because without it, we wouldn't have been able to go there, since the roads were totally covered with snow, and though we joked about hiking up, it would have probably took us ages, and we would have died along the way.

Service was very good. The lady owner? took pains to teach us the basics of the onsen, and told us where and when to go. Our names were also written outside of the room. Nice touch~

Our room~~

The onsens were awesome! Yuxi and I went to the girls only onsen since there were quite a lot of ojisan in the mixed ones, and we were kinda shy to go there. But I realised that the water was not that hot afterall. It was shiok to see the snow drifting into the pool and melt. But the aftermath of the onsen was colddd...omg. I was practically shivering when I tried to put on my clothes.

The view of Kaniyu Onsen~

It was so damn freezing cold outside.

Dinner was interesting. Quite a lot of food are those that I have never seen before, and the servers were quite considerate as they were asking if we are able to eat the food. I think 10,600yen is a good price to pay for lodging, dinner and breakfast with transport included.

Dinner at Kaniyu Onsen. There were more dishes but we were famished.

After dinner, we managed to nua in the room, and talked about some school life stories, as well as army ones. And the guys went to soak in the onsen again.

I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the onsen. But there was some old uncle down there which led me scurrying off to the separated female only onsen, after blindly sitting in the mixed onsen for a few moments.

Went to explore the other possibilities but they were too cold to even contemplate about sitting in them. The ground was freezed over.

Breakfast at Kaniyu Onsen

Had breakfast, with Natto, and went to play with the snow, and they were quite thick and wet. I seriously didn't expect them to be that wet. Then it was time to set off for the long trip down the mountain again. I would have recommended another night if one has the money and time to spend.

We stopped at the same place, and went shopping at the local supermarket. It is one of our hobbies to shop at the supermarket, and compare the items being sold there and in Singapore. I guess we really bought a lot of gifts and food from there.

Since we still had time before heading off back to Tokyo, we went to Kinugawa Onsen station, which was still covered by our pass. The best part was that we took the more expensive train, and I was so afraid that we would be caught by the train staff. But no one checked.

Kinugawa Onsen was the epitome of the haikyo that I saw on quite a few of the websites. It was deserted, except for a few of the expensive and doesn't look nice attractions. We went around looking for an eating place, and it took us aroun 20-30mins to find a place which has not closed down. It was as near to a ghost town that I have ever been to.

Walking through the town~

Travelling back to Tokyo was another 3 hr journey, and we were quite tired out. We ended up in the hostel quite early.

This trip was made available with the help of Japan Guide and Spike Japan.
Obviously, I paid with my own money for this trip unless free rides and accommodation drop from the sky.

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