Kinosaki Onsen is a small area with many onsens, and the locals are known to hop from one onsen to the other after their dinners. Hmm…. I find this inconceivable. Since Dear1 was so keen on this, we’ll just have to go have a look. And luckily we did! All of us had so much fun and nice memories here!
We had ekiben in the Shinkansen (which the kids learnt what a bullet train is now, keke) and changed a couple of trains before finally reaching our ryokan, Morizuya. As the room was not ready yet, Baby2 had her nap at the nearby shelter where Baby1 played at the playground.
At 3pm exactly, we checked and were awed by the large selection of colorful yukata, waist bands, hair accessories, bath bags and slippers provided by our ryokan. Not to mention the unfamiliar instructions of the dos-and-don’ts when you visit any of the 7 complimentary onsens. Bravely, we set off prettily for the first onsen, clog-ging cautiously down the street. Wow, by then, it was about 4pm and you really start to see men and women and kids dressed in yukata coming out and clog-ging down to the various onsens. What an interesting sight!
Hmm… perhaps let me share some of the (embarrassing) lessons I’ve learnt from the total 5 onsens we’ve visited here.
- First and foremost, don’t be embarrassed! Japanese onsens are stripped fully naked. But your body and mine are just outward physicals, you have what I have, so there’s nothing fascinating about some one else’s bodies. That was what I frantically briefed Baby1 and Baby2 just before we stripped down, LOL. In case they start to stare or worse, comment at anybody, opps!
- Of course, the male and female baths are separate, so our plan was for me to bring the girls along to the female bath, and Papa goes (enjoy) himself at the male’s. So I had to (1) enjoy the soak, and (2) bath three people afterwards. Sounds busy ya, haha.
- I was really trying to enjoy the hot soak, but with a scared Baby2 not daring to enter the hot pool, and a cautious Baby1 whom I had to continuously encourage to enter, albeit inch by inch, I had probably a maximum of 10 mins soak at each bath before we had to go. But at the end of the 5 onsens, Baby2 can proudly say that, hey, she had entered ONE pool, and Baby1 excited recounted her various “swimming” experiences. :)
- Inside the pool, no hair accessories and no towels please. Initially I had thought the ladies were looking at us constantly because I was the only mummy handling two very cute little girls. But luckily one brave auntie came up and reminded that no towels in the pool that I realised to my deep embarrassment what the stares were about!
- I said luckily because that incident happened at the first Onsen. Subsequently, after shedding my embarrassment, I was better able to enjoy the experience. Another auntie kindly told us that the outer pool was cooler, so it’ll be easier for the little girls. Thanks for the tip! Otherwise I would never have thought of bringing the kids outdoors into the freezing wind.
- However in one of the bath, the water was so hot that everyone’s skin were scorched red. Again, luckily I did not insist that Baby1 enter the pool. I barely could enter only up to knee height!
- The bathing process was part of the onsen experience too. After the soak, people will have their full bath here. And so we followed suit. We each got a small stool, like the locals do, and washed and bathed seated down. Interesting!
- After bath, it was suiting up again. Yukatas are a large piece of clothe secured only by the strings and waist band. And we had to trot back to the ryokan in this, so better secure tightly! Times three of that, please, for myself, Baby1 and Baby2.
- By the time we came out from the bath, Dear1 will be relaxing at the resting area waiting for us. Ah, what a relaxing bath.
- And we repeated this 4 times over 2 days. Before and after dinner, on our 2 nights at Kinosaki Onsen. And 1 last time at our ryokan before breakfast on the last day. :p
Our Day 1 dinner was a wonderful kaiseki spread. The food just kept coming in, and we were worried that we’ll be too full to go bath after dinner.
After dinner, we strolled along the street in the cool night breeze. And after we tucked the kids to bed, Dear1 and I had some cold beer on our balcony which overlooks the street, watching people clog down the streets to their onsens. Nice~
The next day, we took the Kyoto Tango Railway to Amanohashidate which is one of Japan’s top three most scenic sights. We had wanted to rent the bicycles, but they didn’t come with any suitable for kids, so we cross the (harbour) by ferry. Took the (tram) up the hill (chair lift are not suitable for our young kids), and bent over to see the “path leading to heaven”. It was an amazing sight!
In the evening, it was bath, dinner, bath and beer again, keke!
The next morning, we woke up slightly earlier to have a bath at the onsen inside the ryokan, before checking out to embark on the last league of the trip – fun activities for the kids! Stay tuned!