Iizuka Onsen Town is an easy train ride from Fukushima City. It is known for its hot spring water (as you can guess from its name. “Onsen” is hot springs.) Lots of famous people have visited, like Basho and Helen Keller.
My son has reached the age where we absolutely can not NOT NOT NOT go to a regular onsen together without Dad. So I chose a weekday and went by myself to Iizaka Onsen to sample its famous hot spring water.
Stopped in this shop for a recommendation for an onsen. The oldest and historic one was closed that day, so I got directed to what I guess is the second most historic and famous.
I bought the yubeshi (on left) and bikkuri manju (on right.) I don’t really love Japanese sweets, but yubeshi and bikkuri manju are excellent. I do like them very much. The bikkuri manju has a hard crust–that’s why it is a surpise. (Bikkuri means Surprise). My husband said, “It has a lot of calories. That’s why they are so delicious.” Yes, true. Definitely true.
This is the hot spring. Yawata Onsen It’s obvious that the building itself is not that old, but the hot spring itself is old, historically old. Long ago, people didn’t have showers or baths in their homes and came to onsen instead.
This is the shrine accompanying the onsen. Yawata Shrine.
Sweet shrine kitty. Quite a few cats were hanging out at this shrine. Perhaps they are fed here? I hope so, because I think possibly they were all strays.
Here’s a little map. I can read shrine (jinja神社) and temple (tera 寺) and other basic stuff, so I can follow a map, sort of, in Japan, if I have to.
It’s beneficial for me to be able to follow a map in Japanese because here Tohoku, English maps are rare, and when they exist they are never as detailed as the Japanese maps.
(You can also see the symbols for shrine and temple, which I discussed in a previous post. No, that is NOT the Nazi Swastika! It is the symbol for temple.)
Taking the train back. This is a special train line run by the city of Fukushima. It departs from its own section in Fukushima Station (east exit side). It is NOT a regular Japan Railways train. You’ll have to look for it a bit because it is tucked away. If you simply say “Iizaka Onsen,” people will know what you are talking about, and take you to the appropriate train. Iizaka Onsen is its last stop.
If you are in Fukushima City, definitely take this train to Iizuka Onsen Town and look around a bit. It’s very historical–and fun!