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|Okuyaken Onsen. Kappa-no-yu|
Okuyaken onsen, Kappa-no-yu is a free, open air, and mixed hot spring in the Shimokita peninsula. It is a large rock bath by a little river. The water ranges from luke warm to too hot depending on where you sit.
There are two small half-open shelters right by the bath to undress,
with shelves for the clothes. In the bath is a stone statue of a Kappa,
from which the hot spring has received its name.
>From Mutsu city on Shimokita peninsula take either route 279 towards Ohata town, or even better, take the road up to Osore-san. On the other side of Osore-san, take a little paved road towards Okuyaken onsen. There will be road signs, so it's not hard to find. Follow the road all the way past Yaken onsen and a camp site to Okuyaken onsen. You will eventually get to a little bridge with a few building on your left and an open space where you can park. Behind the building on the bank of the little river is Kappa-no-yu.
I have been in Kappa-no-yu twice. The last time was in August of 1996 on my way to Hokkaido. I drove from Tokyo to Mutsu city and planned on sleeping somewhere in Mutsu city. Mutsu city is not a large city, so I had problems finding a place that was open where I could get some food. I finally had to settle for Lotteria burgers. I then went to a school ground where I rolled out my sleeping bag and laid down to sleep. I had not been lying there for more than 30 minutes before a car came in on the school ground. It stopped so its lights were pointing directly at me. How nice of them, I thought. The car finally left, but came back again. It kept coming back, and every time, it stopped for a while close by me. I got the impression that I was sleeping on someone's race track, and realized that they were not going to leave me alone. I packed my stuff and went up on Osore-san in the dark. I arrived at Kappa-no-yu at around 1 a.m., and went in the hot spring. It was so nice sitting there in the hot water in the night. I talked with a japanese man who also happened to be enjoying the hot spring. He was working at the nearby american base as a technician. I asked him what he though about having american bases in Japan. He told me that he could not say anything bad about it, since if it wasn't for the base he wouldn't have a job. He sure had a point!
The man left and a couple with a little boy got in the hot spring a little later. I outlasted those people too. I tried to sleep in the hot spring, but the rocks were just a little too hard and sharp, so I finally gave up and left the hot spring after having been in it 2-3 hours.
It was raining very lightly. It was still in the middle of the night
and I wondered where I should go to get a little sleep. I finally decided
to sleep right there on the parking lot next to my Harley. I rolled out
my bike cover and got in it and fell asleep. I had probably only slept
about one hour when I heard a car pull in on the parking lot. A little
after came another car. Remembering how people were driving around on school
grounds in the middle of the night in this area, I did not trust anyone
to be smart enough to realize that I was sleeping in my bike cover on the
parking lot. In an attempt to stay alive, I started shaking my bike cover,
while still lying in it, every time I heard a car come into the parking
lot so people could see that it was not just an empty bike cover lying
on the ground. I stayed alive, but I did not get a lot of sleep, so I finally
gave up, got up and took off. I went directly to the ferry for Hokkaido
just to find out that I had to wait 3 days if I wanted to get on it !!!
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