Shimabara – day trip to Unzen Jigoku (“hell”) – 4 April

We’ve been to hell and back …

We mastered the bus system today … enter from back door take a ticket and exit from front door and pay at the end of the ride.

A 21km bus ride up to the Geothermal area on top of the mountain. We are in volcanic country. There was not much if no shoulder on the road for a bike … I first felt guilty but not now, a 787m climb which I tracked on my garmin. Unzen Jigoku or ‘hell’ – it was great to walk around seeing the boiling water and steam spewing out of the ground. A bit smelly of hydrogen sulfide. The area is full of walking/hiking tracks.

Outside the tourist centre a public foot bath … too hot for me.

The hotels in the area have thermal spa baths ‘onsens’ and there are 4 traditional public spa baths of which we indulged in one. Men to the left and women to the right. Strip and enter the bath area – wash first, sit on a small stool; basin and shower head to rinse. Enter the bath slowly – the water was 43°C believe it or not I was completely immersed to my neck in the cloudy water and loving it. That was total relaxation. Meanwhile John is having a similar experience on the other side of the wall with the men. I shared the bath with 3 other ladies. This experience cost us ¥200 (under $AUD3) I can’t wait for the next onsen.

Back down to town – a reconnaissance of the port from which the ferries leave.

The town’s natural spring water is seen through the housing community, open drains along the roads contain carp which lends the name of Town of the Swimming Carp.

Another icon is the Shimabara Castle proudly seated on a hill with views of the penninsula; lovely gardens and monuments.

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