Natural Sand Bath
Are you sure you want to do this? says Mike!
Well up early and off on another train journey - glad we got the Japan Rail passes as we have really used them. Anyone going to Japan you must purchase these outside of Japan and I can honestly say it will save you an absolute fortune (this is my advice for today! see also getting wise whilst in Japan).
I had decided that we were going to experience an onsen and also a natural sand bath. Well after and 1 1/2 hour train journey and then transfer by bus for another 10 minutes we arrive at Ibusuki Sunamushi Onsen. Mike is really apprehensive by now and is thinking what the hell has she roped me in for this time. Up the escalator we go and join the queue. The lady then takes our money and gives us a japanese yukata (cotton kimono) and a small towel and proceeds to tell us "change in to the jukata - talk all underwear off and go down to the sand bath area on the seashore". Like lambs to the slaughter we follow everyone and go into our respective changing rooms and agree to meet outside. I go into the changing room and it
This is what it looks like! Felt like being cooked in a sand oven! do you like yours well done sir!!!! Put another load of sand on Fred this one is a big one!
is jam packed full. So I dutifully change into my jukata and put on some flip flops and wait for Mike outside the changing rooms. Out he comes looking mightly uncomfortable and I say come on we now need to go down to the seashore whilst handing him some flip flops. We follow everyone in their jukata's and notice on the sea shore there are heads just peeking out of the sand and their bodies are buried under sand. Looks mightly odd, ha ha.
Anyway we are ushered to a spot on the hot sand and a couple of men dig holes and then tell us to lie down in the hot sand and they proceed to bury us in this extremely hot sand up to our necks and tell us 10 mins no more. Whilst boiling away under a ton of sand Mike says "what does this do for you?" to which I reply I don't know but it looked good in the brochures!!
After 10 minutes we are then ushered back into our respective changing rooms and I proceed to throw hot water out of jugs to get rid of the black sand. I only knew how to do this by watching what others did. Then you sit on a small plastic bench and proceed to wash yourself again but this time with soap and shampoo you then rinse off again and can then proceed to the onsen or public bath and then get fully clothed.
After 1/2 hour or so we were ready for the journey back - to which Mike said "so we have spent and 1 1/2 hours getting here for 10 mins and we now have another 1 1/2 hours back" good usage of time - to which I reply how often can you get buried in hot sand for 10 mins and not only that the brochure said it was an experience you won't forget!!!
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