Izu Geo Trail - Day 2

Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Higashiizu-chō, Shizuoka-ken, Japan
Another wonderful day.
A good Japanese breakfast with rice, salad, smoked mackerel, egg poached in spring water etc, etc .
On to a bus to the start of the walk in the Amalfi Highlands in the mountain range through the middle of the Izu peninsula.

Our walk in the Izu Geo National Park started at 1000 meters and ascended through a lovely forest to about 1390 meters. The forest was beautiful, the mist added a different beauty to it. We even saw some cherry trees in full blossom.

We stopped for lunch by Hachioji Pond, a large lake. It was cloudy and misty, but we were lucky that the rain stopped by the time we started walking.
After lunch we had a long steep descent. It was hard going for some of us. The track was rough, lots of roots, rocks and some very big steps. At one place we even had to climb down a ladder.
We ended up at the old Amati tunnel, completed in 1904.
The bus met us there and we completed the journey to our accommodation in Kawazu. This included a drive down an incredible spiral bridge.

The inn has its own Onsen, but the highlight here is the string of outside pools by a lovely waterfall. There is even one in a kind of tunnel behind the waterfall.

Now I knew about having to shower properly before getting into one and going in naked, but I wasn't aware of the full ritual. Luckily one of the ladies on the trip, Martha, has been to Japan many times and had even lived here for a while and she showed us what to do .
Firstly you undress and put on a robe provided by them in your room. Take a large and a small towel with you into a changing room.
There you remove your robe and together with the large towel leave them in a basket.
Then you enter the next room where they have a number of low showers with a flexible hose, soap, shampoo, conditioner, little stools and bowls.
First you wash the stool, next your bottom and then you can sit down and wash yourself & hair with the little towel (like a face cloth). The bowls are there to catch the water. When you are all clean, you empty the bowl, wash down the stool. By this time you are pretty used to being fully naked in company.
Then you can go into the other room with the hot pools and immerse yourself. You can take the little towel with you, but it must not get into the water. Some people put it on their head!
It all seemed a bit daunting at first, but in the end oh so relaxing and wonderful.
Afterwards you get as much water off your body as possible with the wet small towel before you return to the changing room and put on the robe.

For dinner everyone wears their robes. Dinner here was not as elaborate as last night, but just as delicious.