a "local" holiday

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March 1st 2012
Published: June 24th 2012
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This trip is my second visit to Japan. A really big reason for me to do this trip is because I want to experience a typical Japanese onsen holiday - the kind that local Japanese people do when they take a break from work, usually once or twice every year. Japan is famous for its high work pressure. So I figured the kind of holiday the highly stressed Japanese workers look forward to must be truly relaxing.

A typical onsen holiday involves the following elements - an onsen village far away from big cities, a traditional style ryokan (same as hotel except you sleep on tatami instead of bed) with outdoor onsen surrounded by green plants, traditional yukata provided by the ryokan and a BIG banquet dinner prepared by your ryokan which always uses some kind of local produce. Onsen is a very big part of Japanese culture and I think that alone is worth a visit.

My first stop will be Fukuoka, the biggest city in Kyushu. Over there I will experience the busy city life. Then I will head to the onsens in this order - Yufu, Beppu, Kirishima, Furusato (Sakurajima Island), Kurokawa and Ureshino. Well I guess it's not normal for the locals to do more than 1 onsen every time, but I really want to see all of them and maybe have a comparison afterwards.

I booked all accomodation through jalan.net with my very limited amount of Japanese. The process is surprisingly easy. Since there is a standard booking form, I just needed to figure out what each field means. I was happy with this finding because very few "true" onsen ryokans have their website in English. I also plan to rent a phone (in case any of the hotels need to call me) and get a rental car to drive to different places.


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