Welcome to 'World Journeys' (the blog)! Formerly known as 'The Greater World', World Journeys is written by Andrew Boland, a traveller approaching 40 who has visited 69 countries, and counting!
This blog features any travel I am doing, and thoughts, memories and the like from my past trips, not to mention photos. Please come back regularly to read about some of the interesting, and different places I have visited!
Sunday, March 23, 2014
One Last Onsen
Yesterday I finally had the chance to visit the most renowned
onsen in Ichinoseki, the Kanpo Onsen. A beautiful setting, a little way out of
town on top of a hill, the onsen is fed by reputedly 14 different hot springs.
It is regarded as the best onsen in the immediate area and one of the best in
all of Iwate. As you can see from the photos, the location is simply stunning.
High on the hill - Kanpo Onsen near Ichinoseki
Left - men; right - women.
I found the water to be a bit hot again. Of the three onsens
I have visited in Japan, I preferred the water in the onsen at Hachimantai.
Nevertheless, it was an interesting and eventful experience at the Kanpo onsen.
Unfortunately it was really busy, so I couldn’t sneak a photo inside. As I
said, it’s a very popular onsen and there is a hotel attached. People come to
stay a couple of nights there as a getaway. There are shops and restaurants and
it was certainly the biggest onsen I have visited.
The onsen area had six separate pools. Five were inside, and
one was outside in a kind of fenced off area, high above the surrounding
countryside. I did feel someone might be able to see the naked men if they
walked in the wrong spot, but I guess they would be a long way away so it wouldn’t
matter. The outdoor pool was a rock pool, and was the best of the six as you
could breath in the (very) fresh air whilst submerged in the hot spring water.
Inside, the air was stuffy and humid and made breathing more
difficult. There were some bubbles in one pool, and in another a sort of
machine that sent out electric waves, at a guess. The temperature across the
pools felt over 40 – maybe 42 degrees. They didn’t advertise the temperature
that I saw unlike the others I had been to. The men all ran around holding
little towels over their bits, trying to prevent someone inadvertently seeing
them! All the other places people have been less modest! It was kinda funny
There was a young boy of 10 or less as well, and he ran from
pool to pool jumping in and out and generally negating some of the relaxing
properties of the spring water. Then his father (or maybe grandfather) caught
up to him and whacked him across the head!
Done in a short time, I showered and changed and went to the
loo. I was in there 30 seconds or less, when I came out there was a man
collapsed lying on a cane bench with a bunch of naked men trying to bring him
round. Well, I have to say every time I’ve used an. onsen I have felt dizzy at some point. He
came round and was chatting to the staff thankfully, but nevertheless an
ambulance came and he was treated inside. I imagine it happens reasonably
regularly, as one gets a bit dehydrated in their and many of the patrons are older
I think that may be my last onsen. They don’t seem to agree
with me very well, and I woke this morning with a bad migraine – not the first
time that’s happened. Actually, I make it three from three. This was the worst
though, the others weren’t so bad. Still, for many people in Japan they are an
essential part of life!