I finally visited Yufuin, a small town in Oita Prefecture that is famous for its onsen. It’s actually less famous than the neighboring city of Beppu, but is much cuter and more picturesque. See?
In Yufuin I went to my first rotemburo, which is an outdoor onsen. We sat in the pleasantly scalding bath while gazing out Yufu-dake, i.e. that mountain above. The onsen only cost 700-en but was quite fancy, with an enormous dressing room, free lockers, and gorgeous woodworking. The bath section even had separate 1- or 2-person round tubs, which were gently scented with things like mikan oranges or rooibos tea.
After shopping we ate at a nice soba restaurant, which was positioned right next to this creepy lake of death:
See how the water is steaming? I guess it’s the kind of natural hot spring that onsens draw their water from. But it’s a little disconcerting to look at, especially when you see ducks and swans swimming in it!
Near the lake of death I had my first encounter ever with geese. I have never seen a goose before. I’d like to take this opportunity to say that they are the most unnatural-looking animals I have ever seen in my life. And I’ve seen ligers.* Have you ever seen a liger? Geese are weirder.
I’m not talking, like, Canada geese here. I’m talking Mother Goose-sized geese. I didn’t think those actually existed. But here’s a distant shot I took of the monster geese. See how fat that one’s neck is on the right?
So, all in all, it was an awesome, horizon-expanding trip. We didn’t get a chance to take the Yufuin no Mori, the luxury train that travels to Yufuin from Hakata, because it was sold out. Next time!
(*I’ve never seen a liger. But I’ve seen photos, and that was scary enough.)