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  • Writer's pictureAyako

Shima Onsen Trip

Our family went to Shima Onsen in Gunma Pref. in Japan on three days holiday in January. We usually go to onsen on 30-31st of December every year. However, at it was snowing heavily on those days, we couldn’t make it last year.

After two hours drive, (thanks dad!), we arrived at Shima Onsen area. This area is famous as a model of locations in the animation film “Spirited Away” directed by Hayao Miyazaki. As far as I know, there are many such model locations around Japan, and it’s one of them, I believe.

After checking in “Ryokan” - traditional Japanese inn, we walked around the town.

Hot spring was springing out for free, and I tried drinking that water. It tasted まろやか。

There was a bridge that must be the place appeared in that film. In front of the bridge, there was a cafe that offered organic medicinal beverages and sweets. We enjoyed a cup of chai, soy mile sweet soup and shard no-egg pudding.

Unexpectedly, there were many young tourists in the town. I heard that there was an express bus so that people can come here directly from Tokyo or other cities. Across that town, the river called “Shima River” flowed which showed a snow scenery.

In the inn, we enjoyed several types of baths, every each offered a nice view and relaxing atmosphere. Through the night and morning the next day, I enjoyed bath time for 6 times in total!

The next day, we head for Okushima Lake by 10-mins drive. It’s an artificial dam, and famous for its color of water. There was an observatory that we had to climb on a snow slope. It was very scary to go without using my hands on the handrail along the steps. After coming back from the observatory, we dropped by a cafe nearby the observatory in which we could command a beautiful scenery of the lake.

In the cafe, I had a cup of blue herb tea! It used butterfly pea, they said. There was a hot spring foot bath outside in the cafe. According to the map we found in the cafe, we could go bicycle around the dam. Unfortunately, the course for bicycles was closed during the winter season. It could be very beautiful in summer and autumn. One day, I want to come back again in different seasons!

There was a bridge we can go to the other side of the lake. For me, who has a little fear or hight, it was a little hard to take videos over the fence… While my dad went back to the car earlier than us, my mom, sister and I walked through the bridge. Snow-covered mountains over the lake were impressive as well as the frozen surface of water in the lake.

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