- March 10 2016
My awesome trip covering hot springs and a shopping spree in Kyushu : Part 1
Hi, this is Kusshi, Japanese living in Shanghai on business. A few months ago, I took a trip to Kyushu from Shanghai to go on a big shopping spree...and it was successful and satisfying!
So, I just had to go back to Kyushu again. How can I refuse it when it’s only ¥15000 return including the fuel surcharge? This is so much cheaper than flying from Tokyo, so I’d better be flying to Kyushu as much as possible while I can!
Kyushu trip Day 1
Arriving at Saga Airport!
I took the first flight on Saturday, which landed at Saga Airport at around 11am.
As the same as the last time, I hired a car at Saga Airport to travel around Kyushu. It was Suzuki Swift this time, and I liked it the way it drove smoothly and speedily.
A short stop at a convenience store: Eat before a long drive
First, I stopped at 7-Eleven to withdraw some Japanese Yen out.
Then, I bought a packed lunch from the convenience store. In Shanghai, there are many Japanese style restaurants, so I never miss the food here. However, I did have a craving for packed lunches and desserts from Japanese convenience stores. Ah, look at the red wiener sausage and fried chicken...I missed these!
To Yame City
My schedule was so tight last time, so this time, I’d better keep moving to my destination without mucking around.
The first destination is Yame City’s local specialty shop called ‘Unagi no nedoko’. Unfortunately, I went there on their day off, so I was really disappointed that I had to miss it last time.
This is what Yame City looks like. It seems peaceful.
It was a perfect sunny Saturday, and I saw visitors wander around in this quiet town.
It was wonderful seeing the old houses and shops along the streets. It reminded me of Kanazawa City or Takehara City in Hiroshima Prefecture.
I arrived at ‘Unagi no nedoko’ finally and safely.
This is very popular for selling stylish variety goods designed by local artists, household items and tableware. I did the quick shop there.
The shop next door was also selling variety goods, and they even served coffee in their garden and sold vegetables. There was so much to see.
The town scenery was amazing, and I am so glad and satisfied with ‘Unagi no nedoko’. They had so many items that I liked, and everything was just like how I’d hoped it would be.
To Tosu Premium Outlets
After that, I drove up north to Tosu.
Here I am at the biggest outlet mall in Kyushu, Tosu Premium Outlets!
I’ve mentioned this repeatedly before, but my box that I had sent from Japan still haven’t arrived in Shanghai yet. It has most of my winter clothes. It’s been 2 months already since I shipped it...Even though Shanghai is somewhere in the south within China, it still gets cold in the morning and at night this time of the year.
Anyway, this is why I purchased some clothes here at Tosu Premium Outlets. Because of their outlet quality, they might seem a bit cheap if you see them closely.. However, I don’t mind and will happily wear them.
I also popped into a nearby shopping mall called Frespo Tosu.
They sell my favorite cat food, Royal Canin. I’d checked where I could get this kind in advance, so I straight headed to a pet shop and purchased this.
Kyushu trip Day 1
To Ukenokuchi Onsen hot spring
It’d become slightly darker while I was relaxed shopping, so I had to hurry to get to my accommodation.
I stayed at Ryokan ‘Shinseikan’, located in the area called Ukenokuchi Onsen hot spring.
I drove along Oita Expressway in the sunset, got off at Kokonoe and followed the mountain road for a while. Then this traditional hot-spring inn appeared standing alone in the dark mountain. That’s Shinseikan!
Inside of Ryokan Shinseikan
This is the inside of the accommodation.
Here is the room. It was truly cold without a heater at night! I turned on a kerosene fan heater in the room. Somehow, I liked the smell of it and felt cozy and homey.
Overall, it seemed like a retro Japanese inn, but it was actually modern, clean and hygienic.
About the hot spring
The hot spring at Shinseikan is actually rated as one of the best among the popular but secluded hot springs in Kyushu. Of course, it is a free-flowing hot spring. The hot spring water here is highly dense. It had lots of deposits that make you believe the shape of the bathtub is actually different from the original. Speaking of the water tap, it almost looks like a discovery from ancient ruins. lol
I didn’t bring any soap or shampoo, but again there was shampoo that could be an ancient archaeological finding...I gave it a go, and surely, it was normal shampoo.
I got to try both indoor and outdoor hot springs. They were both great!
The dinner at Shinseikan
The dinner was a typical meal from a Japanese inn in a remote mountain area...and I suspect that they served quite a lot of commercially pre-cooked foods. However, they still served tasty dishes out of those, and I enjoyed them. Tempura and basashi (sliced horse meat) also came with this set.
It included carp sashimi (Koi no arai) and this course meal was great for me and for those who enjoy drinking. I had such a relaxing time eating and drinking.
Then, I went back to the room and did nothing special but lazily read a comic book by Yoshiharu Tsuge.
As I left Japan for Shanghai, I digitized all my books that I had. So, now I can read them on my iPhone anytime, and this is perfect when I’m away on holidays. You get bored at night, don’t you?
My Kyushu trip continues...