Meet my new nephew, Jackson! He was born on March 5th in Colorado. I'm super excited to meet him, even though it's going to be a few more months. We will be sending a special package for him soon, though! Congrats again to my brother Andrew and his lady Gin!
Jackson even gets a special spotlight on my English bulletin board at school. All the kids think his name is cool (fact) and that he was named after Michael Jackson (not a fact)!
Also, yesterday was Matt's birthday. We're saving up for Golden Week so nothing too crazy was planned, but we did go out for conveyor belt sushi, then to our favorite little cafe for dessert, and the arcade afterwards. More purikura was taken; I think I'll share all of them in a separate post sometime!
Kinosaki Onsen, a nearby hot springs town. It’s about a 25 minute drive away, but the parking there is expensive since it’s a happening tourist destination. This time we took the train instead, which I prefer anyway. Although it’s the dead of winter here, this place was quite crowded! We found out that they were preparing for their annual Crab Festival.
|I took this photo in November.|
Kinosaki is characterized by its picturesque scenic river with weeping willows, and seven famous onsen bath houses to choose from. I started making a video, and then gave up after ten minutes because it just doesn’t look beautiful without the green trees on the river. I’ll try again in the spring, when the cherry blossoms bloom and things come to life again. As for the onsen, if you stay in a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn), they usually give you tickets for each bath house and a yukata to wear on the streets. I kind of wish we were staying in one, just because of how tedious it is to peel my multiple layers of clothing off, and even worse putting them back on in a humid dressing room.
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Last time we tried out Sato no Yu, the largest and newest bathhouse right by the train station. It was very impressive with multiple rooms and levels to appreciate in the nude – sauna room, steam room, penguin room, indoor bath, outdoor bath. This time, we went with Ichi no Yu. It was notably smaller as expected, but the water was probably the hottest we’ve experienced so far! They also had a fun outdoor rock bath, set up in the façade of a cave.
Here's some photos I took on that particular day:
|Heading out with my Don Draper.|
|Riding the train.|
|More crab festival, I think.|
|Stopped into a bakery for lunch. I had a rather sad Totoro pan! He was delicious.|
|One restaurant had a gorgeous fish pond outside.|
|Random little shrine we found behind someone's house!|
|The backstreets of Kinosaki.|
|A random cute restaurant.|
|I love all the effort that goes into the food displays.|
|There are lots of seafood restaurants & markets in Kinosaki.|
|We stopped into this coffee shop for a bit -- very much like Cafe Intermezzo in Atlanta!|
|Hanging ornaments in the omiyage shop.|
|Figure of the cute mascot for our private train line, KTR.|
|We had dinner at Sushiro since the food in Kinosaki is a bit pricey.|
|Not in Kinosaki. This was actually taken at the manga cafe near our apartment.|
|I ordered tonkatsu, which came with salad, rice, soup, and other sides = WAY too much food! Yet tasty.|
Overall, it was a nice little weekend. Kinosaki is a fun little place and we hope to try the remaining 5 bath houses before leaving Japan!