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onsen is an open air mixed "hot spring".
It is not an ordinary hot spring with one big bath, but quite an unusual one, in that there is no water at all. Ibusuki onsen is a "sand spring" where people get buried in the hot sand and relax until they have enough. The "hot spring" is mixed, but everyone are wearing a yugata, so the ladies do not need to be afraid to be looked at.
You pay your fee in a little building and get a yugata to wear. After
changing into the yugata you go to a spot on the beach with a roof, and
in turn you will get buried in the hot sand. When you have had enough,
you get back up out of the sand, go back to the building, take a bath,
and that is it.
From Kagoshima city take route 226 south to Ibusuki city. When you get to Ibusuki city go to the beach and look for a large roof on some pillars. This is the sand bath. Nearby is a little building where you pay and get the yugata.
It was extremely hot the day I went through Kagoshima on my way to Ibusuki. I had a colleague who was from Kagoshima, and since he always turned our air conditioner up to 28 degrees C in the office, I had gotten the impression that Kagoshima was a very hot place. I was happy to find out that I was right.
When I got to Ibusuki I drove around for a while before I found the "hot spring". It was located on the beach, so it was not that difficult to find after all. I had to pay a little fee and got a yugata which I changed into. I then headed for the beach like a lot of other people wearing yugata. On my way I met a lot of people in yugata all dirty with sand. I thought to my self "I guess I will not get into the sand naked", which was only a good thing. When I arrived, one team was just getting out of the sand, and another team was about to be buried. We lined up on a row, and the old ladies who were burring people started digging some new holes for us. When they came to me, they said "You need a big hole", and started then digging another hole in another section of the beach. I got into the hole in my yugata and the old lady buried me. When she was finished only my face was sticking up of the sand. It felt a lot like being a little boy back on the beach in Denmark, except that this sand was warmer. I was lying there looking at the sea and a clock which had been put up. The sand was not that hot, so I decided to stay at least 20 minuets. After all, I had plenty of time.
The sand slowly started to get warmed where it really was pressing against my body. After having been lying there for 5 minutes, the sand now got really hot. I tried to move just a little so the pressure would be more even on my body, and the heat too. It did not really work out that well. It was now as if some one had put a heater on some spots of my back and behind. It almost started to hurt, and I wondered if I would be able to stay the 20 minutes I had decided on. Had it been an ordinary hot spring with water, then 20 minutes would not have been that bad. People now started getting out of the sand, but I had still around 10 minutes to go. The last 10 minutes were really hot. I had never thought sand could be this hot. I comforted my self that I would probably have the most healthy behind and back of any. After all, getting in a hot spring is supposed to be healthy!
When I finally passed the 20 minutes I began to try and get out of the sand. However, With all that sand on me it was not that easy. I finally emerged from the sand and went back and took a bath. I was now pretty dirty with sand, and it now took a long time to get nice and clean again. When I finally got done I went back to my Harley and sat down and thought about what kind of strange things we humans think of.
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