Thursday, February 22, 2007

Unzen



Last Sunday I made the pilgrimage to Unzen. Well, actually, I didn't get to the top of the mountain, because, once again, I was flying blind here. I hopped on a bus at Isahaya, and thought I bought a ticket for Mt. Unzen (on the map, it's the big mountain/national park on the peninsula that juts off down and to the right of where I am in Isahaya). The bus ride out was amazing - the road wound its way along some cliffs beside the Tachibana Bay, and on my return trip, the sun was setting over the water. I've lived at sea level all my life, but I can't believe how different an ocean looks from so high up! I felt like I was on Cape Breton, N.S. again.
Since I wasn't sure where I was going, I got off the bus when the ticket price matched the electronic sign in the front of the bus. Fortunately, I had arrived in the little "resort" town of Unzen, where you go if you want to enjoy some magnificent natural onsens. Unfortunately, it might help to be 'hard of smelling', since the whole place smells like sulfur. Nonetheless, I walked around the boardwalks to see the hot springs, then I hiked a bit in the national park there, which was the first national park in Japan. Afterwards I just HAD to try one of the hard-boiled eggs that the street vendors were selling (when travelling, you must ALWAYS try out the street vendor fare!). (Eggs?!) I'm getting used to "random" "natural" things...I'm finding the Japanese typically revere/celebrate/sell/make stuffed toys of the natural goods of the area. Here, it's eggs - I believe they just stick 'em in the hot springs and 'voila'! Yasui (cheap), too! Only 60 yen - and that even includes a tiny origami salt packet. Mmmm...oishii, yo!

2 comments:

Jon Frashier said...

Unzen is famous for their Onsens. I stayed in a ryokan one weekend there and it was awesome, I loved it. I was also told that a long time ago royalty used to come there, not sure if that is true.

Jon

Tracey Petruff said...

You may be right about royalty, and I also remember reading something about the mountain being sacred and intially not allowing women on it...