Onsen and Waterslides

Last weekend, we went to Mikazuki Ryugujo, an onsen and sort of  a water park out in Chiba prefecture.  For weeks I have been clamoring to go on an overnight trip somewhere because I was tired of spending a day driving out to some remote location and having to make a u-turn back on the same day.  Initially, I wanted to go to some onsen  in Izu or Atami, but its usually a 3 to 5 hour drive through the mountains to get out there which is somewhat exhausting, even for an overnighter.  For me, these long distance trips are spent mostly driving, so I can’t really enjoy myself or relax unless we stay at least 2 nights, which can be somewhat costly.

Last week, my wife found a small little resort just off the Aqua-line in Chiba, which makes it very accessible for us.  On a day with moderate to no traffic, we can get get there in less than an hour, which means less time on the road for me and so I can spend some time relaxing the moment we arrive.  Usually, our trips to Hokone and Izu comprises of a long exhausting drive, and me falling asleep the within an hour after of arrival, hence most of my trip is spent asleep.

Another plus was the fact that we were able to take our dogs with us.  Although we can’t take them into the hotel with us, the hotel had a little annex building in the parking lot area where the dogs  get their own little heated hotel rooms, and we can go and visit them as often as we like.  Its not the same as being able to bring them into our room with us, but it beats having to board it at some pet hotel.

The hotel itself was really spacious….sometimes too spacious, which seems to be the main and probably the only real complaint about the place.  The hotel rooms were located on one side of the hotel and the baths, pools, shops, and restaurants were located on the other side.  It was a bit inconvenient to get over to the other side because of the way the building was structured.  Our room was on the first floor, so in order to get the other side where all of the action was, we had to walk down a long corridor, take an elevator to the fifth floor, go down an even longer corridor where we had to take off our slippers, and then take another elevator back down to the first floor.  From there, if I wanted to go to the pool area, I had to cut the the men’s locker rooms and baths and then out through the doors to access the indoor pool.  Since my wife couldn’t go through the men’s bath or locker room area, she had to take an entirely different path.  So in that respect it was a bit of a hassle.

The highlight of the hotel was of course the indoor swimming pool complete with a giant water slide.  The pool was really big and it was heated so it felt nice.  Haru wasn’t too thrilled with the pool at first.  For some reason, she doesn’t like to get her fact wet, and of course she can’t swim yet so I had to piggy back her around the pool at first.  She kept referring to me as her “sea turtle“.  But every time I tried to let go of her she would panic (understandably so, since she can’t swim).  Even in the shallow areas where she could touch the bottom of the pool, she didn’t want to let go of me.

So, remembering back to the days when I was a kid and enjoyed swimming in the pool, I asked my wife to go to the hotel store and pick up some water wings.  This way, Haru can gain some confidence with being in the water without hanging on to me all of the time.

A few minutes later, she returned with a couple of inflatable water wings, much like the ones I use to wear when I was a kid.  We inflated them, and slipped them onto Haru’s arms.   Of course, she didn’t know what they were at first, or that they would help her float in the water, so she continued to grab onto me when she was in the pool.  After towing her out to the deep part of the pool where she could no longer feel the bottom, I peeled her off my back, and pushed her away.  To her surprise and joy, she stayed afloat and felt much better about being in the pool.

She floated around the pool for few minutes and kicked herself happily along, all the while gaining a huge amount of confidence, which was good.  At one point, I grabbed her hand and towed her around, and she scolded me, I don’t need your help!  I can swim by myself now!  Oh, that’s how it is.  I guess this is just a little foreshadow of what’s to come when she get’s older.

I took her on the giant water slide, and although she liked sliding down the slide, she didn’t like the splashdown because it got her face wet, which she hates.  She refused to get on again, so I guess she needs more of a confidence builder for her to get use to the slides.

After spending a hour or so in the pool, we went for dinner.   The food was okay.  It wasn’t an award winner, but it wasn’t bad either.  There was a variety of different foods, including ice cream desert.

Afterwards,  Haru and my wife went to the arcade area where there was a little shop that allowed you to make your own candles.  Haru had been begging and pleading since before we left the house about letting her make her own candle, so we took her down to the shop where she was able to choose from an assortment of decorations and ornaments to make her own candle.  By the time she was finished, the candle wound up costing about 3500 JPY (or about $45USD) which is definitely the most expensive candle I’ve ever bought.  We picked up the candle the next day, and Haru asked when we could burn it….to which I replied NEVER!

Later that night, I visited the giant hot spring baths.   They were really spacious, so you can easily have your own little private corner and not be disturbed by others.  All of the baths (I think there were 5 or 6 all together) where set at different temperatures.  The coldest bath was even colder than the water in the pool.  The temperature was set at 20℃, which is much too cold for me.   I like my baths HOT, and I mean near scalding temperatures.  I usually take bath and showers in water that is in upwards of 45 to 48 degrees Celsius.  Unfortunately, the hottest bath was only about 41 degrees, which was too cool for me.  But apparently it was too hot for others, because it was the only bath that was completely empty.  I enjoyed the privacy and having such a big bath all too myself.  If it were only a bit hotter, I would have enjoyed it more.

Overall, this trip was a win.  The distance was good in that we were able to get out there in less than an hour.  The view was nice, and the food was okay.  Best of all I think Haru really enjoyed and said she’d like to go back.  And since it’s so close, I can definitely see this as a casual weekend trip, so we will definitely be going back.






A few days ago, Yuka, one of Haruka’s classmates was hospitalized with Pneumonia.  It was pretty sad because my wife had been telling her parents for weeks that the symptoms she was suffering sounded a lot like pneumonia, but her doctor kept telling the parents that it was something much less serious and not to worry.  After suffering for several weeks, they finally took Yuka to another doctor, and guess what?  She had pneumonia!   Frankly, I was EXTREMELY annoyed at how incompetent these doctors are.  Consequently, she had to spend the weekend in the hospital.  Being somewhat physically and emotionally weak, it was probably a very difficult weekend for her, and her mother.

Yuka’s parents had planned to take Yuka to the Doraemon Museum (a museum that’s dedicated the popular cartoon cat and the author of the cartoon series) that weekend, and because of the incompetence of her doctor, she couldn’t go of course.  The tickets are non-refundable and would have gone to waste so her parents gave us the tickets instead.  Personally speaking, although really grateful for the tickets, I REALLY didn’t want to go because I already had a very good idea what it’d be like.  It would be mostly a bunch of childish women probably in their mid to late 20’s dressed like the cartoon cat, and being just plain silly.  The fact that I had already had plans that weekend didn’t help matters any, but I felt very obligated to go, because I hadn’t taken Haruka on any trips for a while.

For the most part, I was right.  It was pretty much a place for a bunch of childish adults who didn’t grow up, or those who are trying to re-live their childhoods.  I never really liked Doraemon,  and never understood its popularity, but I tried really hard to keep upbeat about it.   However, I was beyond annoyed with everyone there.  The initial “oooh” factor wore off pretty quickly with Haru as well, a she got pretty bored with everything after about the first 30 minutes or so.  We were skipping different exhibits because they were just plain boring.  I think the one and only high point of they day was watching a Doraemon cartoon in the theater that was in the museum.

Having said all this, I guess it beat staying at home, but only by small margin.   I think there are far more better ways of spending a Saturday other than being in a room full drawings of a cartoon cat, and being thoroughly annoyed by a bunch of immature woman posing in front of character statues.