2011 A magical place

2011 A magical place

Today was a day of lugging luggage around from train to train to get us from Osaka to Oita – about 4 hours in all.

Rice drying in fields outside Oita

The train (the Shin Kan Sen) flew through the countryside at upwards of 120 miles/hr, I am told.  I believe it too.  It was FAST.  Oita is in southern Japan – the last island attachment to the big island before several smaller islands lead to Okinawa.

There were a lot of rice paddies and shrines, little villages and small cities.  Some farmers in their fields, some fields tended to by scarecrows and

some bamboo groves and rivers.  It was a lovely ride.

View from the shin kan sen

After checking in at our hotel in Oita and dropping off our luggage we headed out of Oita on another train up to the hill town of Yu Fuin about an hour to the west of Oita.  Yu Fuin is a sweet little village that is a popular tourist destination for the Japanese.  There are not so many signs in english and we just said our farewells to Kuwahara sensei this morning as he had to head back to Boston today.

Eggs boiling in the hot spring outside a shop

We had a delightful adventure finding our way around town (thanks to Ehrland who knew more than any of us and enough to get us to exactly where we needed to be.  One of the many gems of the town of Yu Fuin are the natural hot springs that are left from the huge volcano that sits above the town.

Women's bath

There are several traditional style hotels – small one room buildings with tatami mats for flooring and sliding rice paper entryway doors.  The hotels have traditional style bath houses for enjoying the hot springs.  Cedar buildings open up into big landscaped pools for bathing.  Dragon flies danced around us while we soaked away our travel wearyness and all the hustle and bustle of Osaka melted.  We were now just happy, warm and relaxed in a beautiful mountain town.

Entrance to shrine
Dragon fly

After our bath we walked up to yet another shinto shrine and I won’t speak much of this one – excep

t to say that it had a beauty and a power that would be hard to match.  Back down the hill and into the sweet little Japanese BBQ restaurant for dinner then off to have coffee and ice cream before we hopped back on the train down to Oita.

Time for bed now.  We will be on our feet all day tomorrow in Shudo sensei’s office.  It will be a long and incredibly interesting day.

Japanese BBQ dinner