Utoro Uramashu

Ordinary start to the morning, parked amongst the dozens of other vans at the Utoro michi-no-eki.

We made our way across the Shiretoko peninsular, towards Rausu.  It’s a long mountain road, but even with the clouds, it was a beautiful drive.  Everytime I get on one of these amazing mountain roads, I really wish that I had one of my old motorbikes here with me (or even a decent car…).  We had a quick stop at the top of the toge (mountain pass), where we could see the disputed territories of Kunashiri (Russia took them from Japan at the end of WWII, among other outlying islands).  It’s amazing to think that it’s Russia!

Natural Hot SpringsNatural Hot Springs

On the Rausu side of the toge, we stopped at (another) Kuma-no-yu (Bear’s onsen).  It’s a natural, free (basic) onsen, however, unlike Yakumo’s kuma-no-yu, it’s a segregated onsen.  The women are herded inside a fenced area (without a view), whereas the men are out in the open, where we can see out… and the outside can see in!  Anyway, I’ve become used the whole naked-bathing thing by now, it’s quite nice to just sit in the sunshine naked (well, with a modesty towel).

Natural Hot SpringsThe rotenburo (outdoor bath) was quite hot, so I asked an old man, and his answer was that it was 95˚… I thought it was a little early to have been drinking.  My guess would be high 40˚s.  It was white (due to sulphur), and it smelt quite strongly of sulphur (surprise).  I really like these super hot onsens (when it’s not too hot), just for a quick dip.

We went to check out a geyser, though the signage told us that it isn’t currently erupting.  We didn’t believe it, and walked to the geyser, and … it wasn’t erupting.

Natural Hot Springs Natural Hot SpringsNext stop, another natural onsen!  Seseki-onsen.  It’s in someone’s backyard!  As we walked down the stairs to the rotenburo, there was a lady there hanging out her laundry.  We asked if could go have an onsen, and she pointed us in the direction of the next set of stairs.  This rotenburo is right on the ocean, though because it wasn’t high tide (or any swell), the ocean was well below the bath.  It too was hot (and a little dirty inside, as natural onsens often are), but the view was pretty amazing!  How many other onsens can you look out over the sea to see Russia?  And, what a sight Kunashiri is too, sexy rugged mountains!  We were soon joined by several elderly (and naked) men, Risa didn’t want to get naked, so she stayed in her swimwear.  Unable to stand the temperature any longer, we got out, dried off, made a small monetary donation and drove to our next destination.

Natural Hot Springs Natural Hot SpringsAidomari-onsen.  Remember how I asked how many onsens have a view of Russia?  Well, this is another, though, as it’s a segregated onsen, there are walls and a roof (and tetrapods) that impede on the view.  If you stand up, you can see over the tetrapods, and out to Kunashiri, but from the (scoldingly hot) bath, all you could see were the giant concrete tetrapods that line Japan’s coastline, protecting against Mother Nature.  While bathing, a heavily tattooed man joined.  We got to talking and he used to work in Niseko!! He is also touring around Japan with a car/supercub.  Out of curiosity, I asked what the tattoo cost… ¥2,500,000!!! ($30,000AUD)  Ouch!

Utoro Uramashu

Three natural (and free) onsens in one day, felt like quite an achievement.  We were feeling pretty refreshed, so headed on our way to Lake Mashu.  We arrived at the rear viewpoint, only to find that the toilets had been shut.  For the first time in my life, I had to drive for 30 minutes to use a bathroom (then another 30 minutes back to the car park).  As we were pulling into the car park, the rain started getting really heavy, so I cooked dinner in the rear of the Delica.  Not a comfortable (nor easy) task, but it was possible, and dinner (pasta) was enjoyable.  Not much to do out here (no reception/internet), so will get an early night.  Tomorrow will be another busy day of sightseeing (being a tourist).

6日目 羅臼—裏摩周湖

風は少しあるけど天気は、上々! まずは、熊の湯を目指し、知床峠を超えま〜す。風も強く寒さも厳しいので木々が高山特有の背が低く、うねうねした面白い形をしている。

熊の湯は、無料の野営温泉。                     男湯は完全なる露天。女湯は、囲いがついているので景色は何も見えず、、、お湯は、硫黄の香りが強く、乳白色。そして温度は、50度近い。凄まじくアツイ!!! 私の他にもう一人ビジターのおばさんがおり、二人でアツイ!アツイ!っと言っていたが、もう一人の地元の人らしきボスおばさんは、水を入れていいよ〜と言ってくれなかったので、ドボンとは入ったけど、カップヌードルにもなれず、そそくさと退散。 あがった後の話では、私たちがでた後、ボスおばさんは水を足していたラシイ、、、ぶーーーー!!!!                     男湯には、ボス不在=水を足せる=適温、完全なる露天などと好条件が重なりとても快適だったらしく、珍しくロス君が長湯、りさが待つという史上初の珍事件発生。  まあ、エンジョイしてたようでなにより☆


それでは、次に目指すは、セセキ温泉と相泊温泉☆ どちらも同様に無料の野営温泉です。 国後島を見渡せる羅臼の海岸線をずっと走ってゆくと辿り着きます。 国後島が思ったよりもすぐ近くに見えてびっくり〜一応日本とロシアが領土を争っているけど、こんな近くに外国が見えるってなんか不思議な感じ。

セセキ温泉は、海のすぐ横から湧き出てる為、潮の満ち引きによっては、海の中に沈んでしまうので入れれば、ラッキー! そう、今日は、ラッキーdayでした☆ いえい! セセキ温泉は、昆布漁師の方の敷地内にありその方がメンテナンスをして下さっています。ありがとう昆布漁師さん!!  湯船は、岩をくりぬいてできており、海藻が生えているため、ちょっとぬるぬるするけど、湯量もたっぷりで海はすぐそこ!めっちゃワイルドでした。 混浴なので、すっぽんぽんのおじさま方を見ないように(私は、水着着用)しつつってのもワイルドでしょ(笑

相泊温泉は、そこから1kmの所。ここは、男女が別になっていて、屋根と囲いあり、道路からは、見えないようになっている。 見えるのは、目の前のテトラポットと海! 温度は、普通のお風呂よりちょっと熱いかな位の温度だけど、心地よい。深さがあって座れないのでたち入浴という感じ。でも貸し切り状態というのもあってすっごくのんびり、ゆっくりできました☆


天気もあまり優れない為もあり、今日は日が落ちるのが早かった。よい写真が撮れないとの事で、今晩は、裏摩周の駐車場で車泊! だーれもいないし、電気もない。そしてけっこう雨が降っている〜。 ってことで、車内でクッキング! 今晩は、ロス君がシェフ☆ おいしいパスタを作ってくれました。

ブログも書いたし、まだ寝るには、ちょっと早いのでパソコンでフューチャラーマを見る事に。 が、残り7分ほどの所でまさかのパソコンバッテリー切れ、、、

明日の行き先は、まだ未定! 天気次第だね。どこに行こうかな〜☆