Throwback Thursday: Halloween

I’m gradually getting through my backed up post ideas from last year and now we’re finally at Halloween! I’ve always loved Halloween, and any excuse to dress up really, but Halloween’s the big one so I wanted to do something really fun. I’d say that from what I’ve seen, a lot of Japan seems to celebrate Halloween, either by having big Halloween parties in the local community or just in local nightclubs, or by having Halloween themed English lessons (mostly thanks to all of the ALTs over here who love sharing their own countries’ events with their students). Since I don’t teach, however, I mostly shared my Halloween spirit with other foreigners, which was still really fun.Read More »

Onsen Festival: wild horses, demons and tons of water!

Last weekend I attended my first ever festival in Beppu and one of its biggest events – the Onsen Matsuri (hot spring festival). This is a festival held to celebrate and give thanks to Beppu’s numerous hot springs (Beppu has the largest number of hot spring sources in the whole of Japan, and these sources discharge the highest volume of hot spring water in Japan as well) . This year there was a large variety of festivities – the Onsen Matsuri actually ran from around the 1st to the 7th April, culminating in the main events at the weekend. I only attended the Sunday events, but this was arguably the highlight of the week.Read More »

Throwback Thursday: First Onsen Trip, and Onsen Tips

Since it’s the week of the Onsen Matsuri, a festival celebrating Beppu’s numerous hot springs, I thought what better time to talk about the first time I went to an onsen, and give some tips and answer some FAQs to hopefully reassure those that’re unsure about trying onsen (like I was at first).

First, let me explain about Beppu’s onsen districts, known as “Beppu Hatto” (“Hatto” is written with the kanji for “8” and the kanji for “hot water”, so this’ll give you the hint that there are 8 of them). The main part of Beppu counts as one, then there’s Hamawaki, Kankaiji, Horita, Myouban, Kannawa, Shibaseki and Kamegawa. Each district has its own various good onsens and interesting areas to explore. Read More »

Throwback Thursday: Kunisaki Peninsula

The day after I went to Kannawa for the first time (see last post), I went on a local bus tour with one of the ALTs here and her husband. Our tour location? The Kunisaki Peninsula, an area with numerous interesting sightseeing spots and landmarks.  It’s also pretty hard to get to some places without a car, so this is a useful way to see some sights that might normally be inaccessible if you can’t drive, like me.

The tour we took was the “Rokugo Manzan” tour (literally meaning “Six Towns, Full Mountain, as the region was originally divided into 6 areas, with Mount Futago in the centre). This tour focuses on various Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in the area.

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Throwback Thursday: First Trip to Yufuin

The second town outside of Beppu that I visited after getting here was Beppu’s rival onsen town, Yufuin, which has the second most amount of hot spring sources in the whole of Japan, after Beppu. Yufuin is a more traditional-looking town in comparison, and is popular even with Japanese tourists.

Me and one of the ALTs from Beppu had been invited to go watch a play in the evening, but we decided to head over for midday so as to explore the town beforehand.Read More »