This post is a day delayed because our hotel in Matsuyama was gorgeous and wonderful…but only had internet in the lobby and I don’t know how to say “Your wifi is connecting but not passing through an IP, you need to reset your router” in Japanese…
We had delicious breakfast at the Hotel Gastoff before heading out.
So today we moved on from Kagoshima to Matsuyama. And while I liked our experiences in both places, I would never recommend actually traveling via JR rail between the two. There isn’t a direct way, so instead you must first take the Mizuho 602 from Kagoshima to Okayama (which takes you back through Fukuoka and Hiroshima), and then take a local Shizuho 9 train for over two hours along the coast all the way around the island until you get to Matsuyama.
This results in lots of sulking and sleeping from Aubri.
Though we did play games until our batteries died…
And there were some nice views until Aubri refused to let me see out the window anymore. Alas, the two year old.
When we finally made it to Matsuyama it was raining, though not too hard yet. We asked a gentleman with a sign for directions, and he took us on an impromptu English tour of the area while catching the streetcar we needed in order to get to Dogo Onsen. Our hotel, Funaya, is right around the corner from Dogo Onsen, which was the bathhouse that inspired Spirited Away.
Fortunately, Aubri made so many friends on that ride that she didn’t complain about being on yet another train—even though she’d been a bit of a terror in the last 3 of the 5.5 hours we traveled up until that point.
So we walked up the hill and a different elderly gentleman insisted on taking our bag and getting us all the way to Funaya. He’d been on the train with us. Our suitcase is very heavy so I was worried about all of these retired guys lugging it around… But they insisted.
We expected this to be the hotel, since we were staying at a ryokan.
Instead we found the outside of the hotel looks more like a chain western style, though the inside is gorgeous. A few shots of our room:
Once we dropped the bags and got everything we could figured out, we headed for Dogo Onsen. It was still raining.
Unfortunately, the higher tiers (including a tour of the private baths etc) were sold out, so we had to do the regular bath with snack option for 800jpy/ea (400jpy for Aubri).
View from the window out.
Aubri in her bathing yukata.
The Japanese style bath (I’m not sure that Dogo still has actual spring water) involves a public shower split by women and men, and then a large soaking tub or spring that everyone shares. No clothing allowed of course, though culturally that’s usually not a big deal. Aubri did make friends with a woman probably around our age from Korea, but she made her extra uncomfortable because she had a tattoo of words around her breast and Aubri was trying to read them… “Words! Words! Right there!” Awkward laughter ensues. She spoke a little English so we had a cute conversation. In fact, Aubri made friends with a lot of women in the bath. The younger girls were all at least 5 or 6 and experiencing body shyness though, so they didn’t want to talk to her. There were several people with very very young babies, despite the heat of the tub.
We stayed until Aubri looked like a lobster (she’s obsessed with water and bathing), and then moved on to the hotel to drop some things off. We turned back around to go find dinner and wander the arcade (outdoor shopping mall) that is right beside Dogo Onsen.
A large clock at the beginning of the arcade.
First we had some dinner at the ramen restaurant because it was cold and we were hungry.
We accidentally ordered three entire bowls of ramen, apparently? Usually we share with Aubri. But her bowl went from this:
Jamie ate the pork and I ate two chopstick-bites of noodles. That was it. Aubri devoured the rest.
Then it was time to wander the arcade. We saw a lot of crazy things there.
They have a Ghibli shop with lots of neat items (we picked up Aubri’s charm from here, a Noface with a bath token). We also picked up some other cool items but since they will be gifts I won’t mention them.
They have a store dedicated to nothing but sesame, which had amazingly delicious toasted sesame ice cream (our new favorite flavor).
They had this store with what I can only identify as giant golden poops.
This person making the “soy sauce mochi” the region is famous for.
A sandwich shop with a dragon (they are very fierce sandwiches):
And the only lesbian art we’ve seen so far. 😉
Finally we went back to Funaya, and it was raining very hard at this point. We decided once we got here that we would take another bath. Funaya has a beautiful granite bathing area, so we had another brief soak before getting ready for bed.
Aubri in the whole yukata/jacket.
Futons. I keep trying them but I don’t think my back will ever give up the memory foam mattress. Aubri was very excited about having her own, though.
We also had another soak in the morning before heading out, since the bath opened at 5:30AM and breakfast wasn’t until 7AM.
Since we didn’t get to see any of the town except Dogo Onsen, I think we’d like to come back and see more of the castles and so on. We had a delicious feast at Funaya for breakfast (and of course I left the camera at the counter and forgot to take pictures), and then it’s on to Takamatsu and Naruto!