Shibu Onsen Challenge

After the Monkey Park it was back to our Ryokan in the super quaint and awesome onsen town, Shibu. There are 9 public baths in the town and if you bath in all 9 of them its good luck and good for your health and all that. We could not turn down such a glaring challenge. You can buy a towel and get it stamped 9 times outside eat bathhouse to show that you done did it. You can only go to the bath houses if you stay at a ryokan in the town because then they give you a skeleton key that opens all 9 doors. Cool right?

this 1000ml beer looked awesome and tasty but it was $30!

our 6 tatami room at Senshinkan Matsuya Ryokan. They picked us up from the train station, drove us to the monkey park, and drove us to the station in the morning. Its a husband and wife and at least 1 daughter and son that lives in this Ryokan and runs it. They were too nice. It seems impossible that they run this place with just the two of them, so i guess there has to be other help too. This room cost us 4,000 yen each a night ($48) See that table in the back? its heated underneath look below...

This table is called a kotatsu and they're heated underneath so putting your tootsies under the blanket and under the table in wintertime is awesome.

This is the "towel" that you buy for 300 yen and then stamp up later when you visit each bathhouse.

Our all access skeleton key pass to the 9 bath houses

We ate dinner at this place before the challenge. Looks like its hard times for this town too, they cut out a dumpling from the menu, hahahahha but then :( but then hahahahha.

Its definitely winter here as you saw earlier, snow everywhere so its like -7 or -10 Celsius outside (19-14 F). So they give you a yukata, winter yukata, and then another kind of top coat. Also my first time walking around in geta, those sandals with two big teeth that you balance on. it was pretty hard. I looked like a little 13 year old geisha ho on her first day tripping all over the street.

Here we go, beginning of the challenge, bath house #1. It's supposed to be good for your stomach and intestines

#2 good for eczema "Eczema is a form of dermatitis, or inflammation of the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin)" This one was the hottest and untolerable.

#3 was a lot nicer so we decided to drink this local beer that we bought while having a soak. 3 is good for cuts, scars, and skin disease

these shots would not be possible without Naoki's ultra wide angle lens which is good for interiors and architecture, which he needs because he's an architect.

it was pretty damn hot though so we couldn't stay in very long.

so the fact is if you soak in a really hot bath for a while you feel dizzy when you get out and walk around for some reason. So Norman's glasses fogged up, he was dizzy and he step out the door directly into this 2 feet deep hole where scalding hot spring water pours into. hahahaha. this old shop lady across the street probably thought he was retarded as she halfheartedly and sort of caring and turned his geta sandel around that he had to fish out of the scalding hot hole because she thought he was gonna try to put it on backwards and die.

forgot to take a pic of #4 so this is grabbed from the intertubes. this one is good for "chronic gout". "Gout is a kind of arthritis that occurs when uric acid builds up in the joints."

#4 was so steamy inside it was impossible to get a pic

#5 is good for Neuralgia. "Neuralgia is pain in one or more nerves that occurs without stimulation of pain receptor (nociceptor) cells."

#5 was probably newly renovated recently

Is this the thing that draws all of the spring water into the town?

Huge shishi mai parade thing somewhere at the outskirts of town.

#6 was also too steamy for a pic. Its good for "eyes, soften skin"

#7 is good for "injury"

#8 is good for "organic disease"

#9 is the final and best bathhouse according to everyone. It "Cure-all sickness"

only #9 is open to the public but the 8 others are only for people who stay in the onsen town.

Had to climb and descend 90 stairs to this shrine at the top to get the final big stamp. A precaious ordeal when you're a 13 yr old geisha ho on her first day wearing geta.

Yeaaa we f'ing did ittttttttttt!!!!!!!! We stepped up to the challenge and defeated those 9 bathouses. No bathhouse talks about my momma and doesn't get bathed in! It took about 4 hours and didn't cost a penny, and only 1 of us got injured. Time to drink some beer.

Here it is all stamped up. impressive eh? how you like me now ladies?

we drank more awesome local beer while soaking in this outdoor spring bath surrounded by snow and the cold winter night.

The cold's not a problem if your soaking in hot spring water.

this artwork was in the bathroom of the ryokan. is it the artwork of 原田泰治 はらだ たいじ, Taiji Harada? It has to be. I discovered him the other day at the post office and I bought a sheet of his post office stamp. I'll post them up soon. I love this guys work.

after sitting in the room under the kotatsu processing photos we decided to go out to look for some food. it was hard to find at 2 am but we found this weird ramen place. only one other customer was in there. Did he pass the onsen challenge? He certainly didn't pass the shochu challenge.

did the onsen challenge heal my big toe that was numb since after my birthday when i had an isolated toe stroke? maybe, or maybe the onsen challenge is BS, but i'd like to think that cured my toe by being a man and stepping up to the 9 bathhouses and seeing it through to the end.


F said...

google took me to your blog while I was searching for pictures of the "stamp towel" and I must say it was pretty entertaining and certainly great story. Thanks for sharing :)

Evenchante Siek said...

Hi Jason, google Senshinkan Matsuya ryokan your blog was on one of the few which stands out. I'm planning & have already booked Senshinkan Matsuya before I read your site. However, I'm quite surprise to note bath houses are rather small & run down. Was wondering if you could help describe how small they really are? I know its like 4 years ago but I really hope you could help. :) cheers