Noodles and Beef

Supposedly, bears of the region come bathe in the hot springs… nope, just me.

Dinner was traditional Japanese Kaiseki cuisine spread over 9 courses and took two hours.  Meals were prepared and served in my room by my geisha.  She doesn’t know I speak Japanese.  Its adorable.

Heeding the warning of other guests, I ordered two dinners, which made meal service complicated and very entertaining.

I’m going to skip over all the photos of each meal and service performed because traditional Japanese cuisine is seemingly about texture, not flavour.  (I had two seaweed dishes).  Let’s cut to the interesting thing thats the specialty of this ryokan: bear meat stew.  A delicacy of the region, it was my first time eating bear.  Tasted like buffalo.

Japan is a great opportunity to eat weird (possibly endangered) things.  Look at the stuff I got to take off my exotic-things-to-eat bucket list:

  • Jelly fish (not planned)
  • Fugu (planned)
  • Exotic animal I can’t share publicly (not planned)
  • Bear (planned)

Had to wake up at 4am to get photos before the onsen started filling up with people.  Worth it.

A couple shots of the larger onsen.

Its amazing.  So lush, there are flowers all along the trail leading to the onsen…lilacs, honey suckle…the air is sweet smelling.  Then, as you get closer, you smell a faint sulfur smell.  Not a negative scent…almost welcoming.

Quick tour of my room!

Three parts, sleeping, sitting, and viewing area, attached bath, and plummeting view of the river.

ALSO!  Push pups in the mini fridge!

Finally got to Takaragawa Onsen, the grand finale to my trip.

Its a historic ryokan located high in the Japanese mountains.  It took nearly four hours to get there: 1 hour on bullet train, 1.5 hours local train, 45 minutes on a bus, then a car picked me up from the ryokan.  Phew.

But I’m here now.

What’s a ryokan?  Its a type of full-service Japanese inn that originated in the edo period and defined Japanese hospitality.  Meals are served via geisha, doors are opened for you on their knees, eye contact is a privilege, your drink is always full, and they’re addressing me as ディラン-どの (Master Dylan).

The ryokan is surrounded by natural thermal hotsprings that smell of light sulfur…there are four developed springs with 8 different temperatures, and a river of frigid mountain water cutting through everything.

The only way this could get better is if I were in a bara manga and everyone who worked here were beefy submissive redheaded pups.

vine.co

Experiencing the g-force of bullet train.

Wow.

Omg, tatami mats!

Heading towards takaragawa onsen, deep in the Japanese mountains. It’s gorgeous up here…There is thunder I’m the distance, every few minutes I get a flash of lightening. It’s exhilarating.

madeofmochi:

I died and went to bara heaven today.

Ill write about it soon once I get settled in. I’m bouncing between living in a capsule hotel and hattenba:/

I’m very upset I missed this store.
None of my Japanese or Taiwanese friends mentioned it; they just told me about shinjuku and I feel very cheated right now.

I could be reading Tagame right now! Argh!