Well…after teaching an English lesson at Wakaba Inn (旅館わかば18 on the map) I found myself with an hour or so to spare before my next class,so I decided to pop downstairs and try out the women`s outdoor bath,which is also known as `Kesho no yu` (化粧の湯,literally `make-up` bath!) Again I was lucky to have the place to myself as it was a weekday and today`s guests at the inn were all out exploring the town. No mixed bathing here either,but day-trippers and inn guests alike may reserve a private bath (sometimes called `family` bath) for an hour for ¥2000 (waiting list at busy times…) There are two at Wakaba,both indoor.
I should mention that at some inns,such as Yamamizuki, Onsen-hoppers (holders of the Onsen-hopping pass) are directed to a set of entirely separate outdoor baths,whereas in many others they use the same facilities as the staying guests. The baths I will be trying out are those made available to the day-trippers and Onsen-hoppers (unless some of the larger inns would like to offer to put me up for a night in return for a favourable blog write-up on their baths!)
Anyway….back downstairs at Wakaba this is what meets my eye…
Just the right temperature for me (some baths are too hhhot,but this seemed less hot than others I have tried..)
A wooden roof and natural walls of bamboo and greenery protect onsen-goers from the elements and it doesn`t feel too open or exposed
Of course,and at the shallow far end of the bath it is even possible to lie down to bathe.
The water was cloudy,with a slightly greenish-brown tint (reflection of the greenery maybe) and I wondered if it had traces of iron in it,although the official certification on the wall describes the source as a mildly acidic -type spring. Well,not to get too technical about it,but whatever was in it seemed to help dry up my spots!
After my bath,back at the top of the stairs was an area for resting ,with some ice-cold water provided for visitors for free and even some free shaved ice (kakigori) for the really hot days of summer!
One word: SECLUDED
Would I come again? Yes,I`d like to clear up my skin a bit…
Staff: Welcoming,some English spoken
To note: Difficult to see the stone ledges/steps as you enter the bath,proceed with caution!