After the girls came back from the studio, we had to get ready very quickly, because we were going out for an onsen and dinner trip! Naomi-san had made reservations for all of us to have a very Japanese experience: Onsen and Kaiseki dinner at Nakagawa Seiryu.
So Aina ate her lunch as quickly as possible, and then changed from her ballet uniform to her normal clothes, and off we were to the hotel lobby again. we boarded 2 vans: the smaller one was for adults, the bigger one was for kids. But apparently, the smaller one was a bit too small to fit all the adults, so some of us joined the kids’ van:
It was indeed a fun van, because Kyo — Kenzo’s dad — assigned himself as our tour guide and the entertainment guy. So it was full of games, stories, and even karaoke. The bus got quite noisy, both on the way to the onsen and back. But the kids (well, the younger ones) were very happy.
Nakagawa Seiryu is very near from Fukuoka. Our bus ride there was less than an hour. Supposedly, there were free shuttle buses from Tenjin, Hakata and Onashi if you want to visit this hot bath place.
At the entrance, there was a local farmer selling his goods, and they looked soooo yummy! The tomatoes were the size of a baby’s head… HUGE! And I have never seen bitter gourds as big as his… I think it was larger than my calf. And I have big calves! He had oranges, grapes and all kids of fruits and vegetables, which were all BIG!
Anyway, when we got to the Nakagawa Seiryu, though, I almost got kicked out… thanks to my tattoos. I have never been to a public onsen before. All my onsen experience was always within a ryokan, so they were not exactly public. I thought, I would be okay to go to onsen place as long as I remain in the private onsen, instead of joining everyone in the public pool. That way, my tattoos weren’t obvious. But apparently in public onsens, people with tattoos are not even allowed to enter the premises… not even the building! Uh oh…
But maybe becase we were in a big group, they were nice enough to let me in, as long as my tattoos were completely covered when I am in the premises. Since I always brought a scarf with me, I just put on my scarf and tied it like an outer shell to cover the big tattoo on my arm.
Of course, I ordered the private room, which was mine for the next 40 minutes. Hui Lin, Lye Wan and Luke joined me in the room. Luke was brave enough to try the onsen. It got a little too hot for him after a while, though. We basically stayed for about 20 minutes before we felt like we were cooked.
Aina went with her friends to the public pools, under Hisae-san’s supervision. Aina said it was soooo much fun. There were so many pools to try, and each of them were pretty!
After bathing, one by one we gathered near the feet onsen, where we could buy drinks and ice cream. You can choose the soft ice cream or may colors of popsicles. The soft ice cream seemed to be popular, though.
After everyone finished bathing, and the kids had their ice creams, we got ready for our kaiseki dinner. We were gathered in a large room with 3 rows of tables. Two tables for the kids, one for the adults.
Some of the kids ordered kids menu, but Aina and I chose the adult menu, which pretty much look like this below.
The soba was pink, which turned out to be an ume soba. I have never had ume soba before, and it tasted a bit sweet. Very yummy. Another dish that was new to me was the chawanmushi. It was a corn chawanmushi, so not only did it have kernels of corn within it, the whole thing smelled and tasted like corn. Aina loved it. I think I missed a few more dishes, because towards the end of the meal, I started to forget to take pictures… Oops.
It got quite rowdy towards the end of the dinner, but I guess, what happened in an onsen place, stayed in an onsen place 🙂