It’s so hard to tell where the time goes. February flew by in a flash and I feel like March is zooming by, too. Anywho… we’ve been filling our time with local adventures, trips to Hiroshima and stayed in lavish luxury at Japanese hell on earth. Yup, hell on earth. We start our story from the beginning.
We took the kiddos up to the children’s museum in Hiroshima and let em tool around the science and engineering exhibits and play in the super rad labyrinth, too. Then at the beginning of February we went up to Miyajima for the annual oyster fest. Nomnomnomnom! On Valentines Day, Mo n I went out to see the Jabbawockeez perform on base. Big thanks to Scotty and Pierce for wrangling our youngsters for a few hours whilst we took in the show n swigged some Chu-his.
The next part of this adventure is most interesting. We packed up the family and headed to Beppu. There is lots to do in Beppu, but it is most noted for its hot springs and its troops of wild mountain monkeys. The first night we were there, we stayed at a ryokan down by the ocean and explored around downtown. Before calling it a night, we went to the Takegawara Onsen, which was built back in 1879, and I must say aged quite nicely. This Onsen is awesome and tattoo friendly. It’s segregated by sex, so the boy and I went to one bath whilst Mo n EB went to another. The water was incredibly warm and relaxing. Going to an Onsen in Beppu is a social event to a certain extent and while Rudy n I were soaking it was clear the after work crowd was coming in and catching up from the day. It was cool to witness.
The next day was jam-packed with all kinds of fun. The first stop was the Takasakiyama Monkey Park. This place is a sanctuary for over 1,500 wild mountain monkeys consisting of two troops of about 700-800 monkeys each. They come out of the mountains to play, walk amongst the humans and eat.
I’d have to say the most is interesting aspect about the two troops is the fact that last year the monkeys went on strike. Over the last 30 years the staff at the sanctuary were slowly reducing the amount of food they were putting out to the monkeys. This was an attempt to reduce the number of monkeys on the mountain because they were getting into farmers crops. The monkeys unionized and protested the park causing the staff to put up signs saying “currently no monkeys.” Fewer monkeys meant fewer tourists so the park had to start feeding the monkeys again or risk shutting down. Cheeky monkeys.
After playing with the primates, we heading out of the park and across the street to the Umitamago Aquarium to see the dolphin show and get up close and personal with some marine wildlife.
After the aquarium we went up toward the Jigoku or Hells of Beppu. This is where the most active geothermal pools and Onsen are in Beppu and where we were staying at a hotel on a hillside that night. Before checking in, though we headed up to Kifune Castle where a white snake resides and is told to give you happiness if you pray to it. Naturally, we obliged. The views of Beppu from the castle were breathtaking and the castle was pretty cool, too.
As we were leaving the castle, Rudy started chatting up a Japanese couple who were flying a drone to take pics. They were so happy with how cute the kids were they insisted on taking a drone selfie with us.
We headed back to the Hells and started to hit the different “hot spots” around our hotel. This included eating a dinner steamed with geothermal heat. Yummy!
After dinner we headed back to the hotel for a family soak. We seriously had two natural hot tubs in our room. This hotel was the bomb. For hell on earth, it sure was heavenly.
The next morning we had a huuuuuuge breakfast.
After that, we continued our tour of the Hells.
These Jigoku are so awesome and very picturesque. There were bubbling pools of molten clay, gators, geysers, and no shortage of oni.
There was only one way to cap off the weekend. A car ride up to a hidden, mountainside Onsen.
Yep, naked on the side of a mountain. Good thing we had the place to ourselves. And of course we hit the Chicken Shack on the way home.
Switching gears, Rudy had his end of the school session recital. He’s a talented lil bugger.
We took a second trip back to Hirata Farm to pick some strawberries. Just like last year, the kids ate their weight in strawberries and went around feeding the farm animals.
The farm trip was followed by lunch at a winery and fun at the huge park across the street.
That’s February for the most part. Thank you all for following our adventures. Before I do cute pics of the kids, here’s Rudy on the piano:
Alright, here’s some cute pics: