Jan 4th – First Full day in Hirayu Onsen.
My accommodation, the Hodakaso Saganoyu Ryokan, was a traditional type of Japanese Inn, featuring a public bath and hot spring. This was probably the most traditional Japanese experience possible, and without any English except for the basics by the front desk manager, it made this part of the trip very interesting indeed. The first thing to understand is the slippers – as a new guest I was whisked to my room and bypassed the outdoor shoes to indoor slippers manoeuvre on arrival, and so didnt at first understand the purpose of the slippers in the room. However, by use of pointing, hand gestures and allot of patience from the Japanese staff, finally everything was explained to this hopeless foreigner on what to do. I must say here that the people at the Ryokan were the nicest and kindest people I have ever met, even despite us having almost no common language, they took the time to explain everything from when to use each type of slippers, to the bath, they even helped me with cooking and preparing my food, both breakfast and dinner each day. I cannot thank them enough for their kindness and patience, again a truly memorable stay which I will never forget.
Part2 is continued here.