This is part 2 of a blog post about a recent trip to Shima Onsen. You can find part 1 here.
I woke up the next morning to a breakfast of champions minus the obligatory natto (the lovely and thoughtful lady had asked me if I would like some included with my breakfast or not with a sly smile on her face...).
That was enough to put me to sleep and I went back to my room for a nap. This was, after all, a relaxation trip! When I woke I went and enjoyed another soak in the onsen and then decided to head back out to the town and have a look around.
It had started snowing and a lovely winter wonderland was being created. The town was just as sleepy as it had been the day before, even more so seeing that it was now Monday and there were not as many visitors.
Finally, some people!!
Yep, I'm not sure about that one either.....
The snow was really coming down now, but that didn't seem to bother the smattering of people wandering around town.
I couldn't tell if they were tourists or locals because I was the only non-Japanese person in town!! Everyone else was Japanese. Now this was the first time that I had experienced that on all my travels, and it felt good!!
Wandering on I came across quite an historical structure, Japan's oldest onsen Ryokan, at 300 years old, Sekizenkan.
Now, it is said that this read bridge was the inspiration behind the red bridge leading the the bathhouse in the Oscar winning movie Spirited Away (千と千尋の神隠し) as the movie's director, Hayao Miyazaki, visited Shima Onsen just before making the movie. As with all 300 year old buildings, this one was undergoing some running repairs.
It was, however, pretty amazing to be standing in front of such a beautiful, old building!
Turning around I headed off down another little shopping street, this one barely wider than two people with outstretched arms!
I suddenly realised that breakfast had worn off so I set off looking for somewhere for lunch. I found it in a restaurant called Asunaro. I walked in and was sat down and took a look at the menu. Now I had done a little research and found that this restaurant cooked a series of unique tonkatsu dishes. Negi (spring onion) tonkatsu, miso tonaktsu, shiso (perilla leaf) tonkatsu to mention just a few. I decided to go for the negi tonkatsu which had the pork cutlet butterflied and filled with spring onion before being folded back over, breaded and deep fried. Now in my excitement I forgot to take a photo of the delicious spring onion cooked inside the tonkatsu.....sorry....
Wow, did it taste good! The sweetness of the caramelised spring onions were a perfect match for the tonkatsu! Why didn't someone think of that before!!
Satisfied, I went back to the ryokan for yet another onsen followed by another nap! Ah, relaxation!!
Well, I think I'll end this one here. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the final part!