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Journeys in Japan – Atami, Kai hot spring

This post as hundreds of others I am yet to post is very overdue but with the scarce amount of free time I have lately, I decided to close my eyes on time stamps and just write about events I want to write about regardless of when they took place. So, stay tuned for the continuation of my Patagonia story. ^-^ Seriously? 5 years have pasted…

Last summer, I took my 7 month old son to Atami to show him the Pacific ocean and enjoy some time under the sun. It was a very easy breezy trip as he was still sleeping beautifully in the moving car (unlike now!) and was satisfied with just happily observing the world from the coziness of the baby carrier instead of running every which way like he does now.

We arrived at Atami in the early afternoon, had lunch at a local diner and then spent some time on the beach, dipping baby’s bare feet in the water. He was scared of the “big bathtub” so didn’t insist on staying long.

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My mom, upon seeing this photo has asked why so many are dressed up in not just clothes but clothes with long sleeves. In Japan, a lot of people wear UV-protective clothing to the beach, especially women who don’t want to get tanned and children whose skin is too sensitive to sunshine. It is hot and uncomfortable but a great way to avoid sunburn.

As you can also see, the sand on Tokyo beaches as well as in every sandpit on every playground is dark grey, almost black in color. You have to go to Izu to find white sand beach but it will be even more crowded than this one. ^-^

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After the hot beach, we cooled down in my favorite MOA museum that held a very beautiful exhibition depicting mount Fuji through the works of Japan’s most famous artist Hokusai.

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This is the bandana I bought for my son at the exhibition. Isn’t it cute with the little clouds over mount Fuji?

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The museum has a gorgeous Japanese garden with a tea house inside but you have to book the seat in advance or be prepared to wait to be seated. The place is very popular.

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It was my second failed attempt to have tea at the museum’s tea house but fortunately I had my cup at the KAI ryokan upon arrival. It was very refreshing after a hot day out.

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The ryokan is very old but some of its parts have been rebuilt with modern standards in mind. The outdoor bath in particular was designed by Japan’s contemporary artist Kengo Kuma. It is really relaxing. I happened to go in the bath right in the midst of a pouring rain that enveloped the bath area in a soft flowing veil of water through which I peacefully gazed at the ocean. It was a beautiful tranquil moment that I often go back to in my mind when I need to relax.

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Ryokan had a drawing room with a small library and self-serving kitchen with herb teas and biscuits.

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The way from the main building to the hot springs terrace was very long and steep but amazingly beautiful especially at night.

At the very bottom of it, there is an open air adult-only bar that we unfortunately couldn’t check. It did look very romantic. You can also enjoy a special Geisha performance there on weekends or so the website says. ^-^

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This is a hot spring terrace with a gorgeous view to the ocean. You can chill there with a glass of free beer or milk after steaming it off in the hot springs.

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The dinner was amazing. We often take the traditional full course onsen dinner because it is served in the room and you can go about your evening at your own pace. With a baby, this sort of arrangement comes particularly in handy. ^-^ The food is always fresh, it highlights the best of local cuisine using the best of local ingredients. After a full Japanese meal, you will never feel full and uncomfortable as for example after a Russian “sour cream on top of everything” meal. After this sort of traditional “kaiseki” meal you feel nothing but satisfaction. It also pleases not only your stomach but your eyes as well.

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The next day, we went to the beach again just to give our little boy another chance to get acquainted with the ocean. I would very much love for him to be passionate about watet and to follow in the steps of the generations of men in my family.

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Stay tuned for other overdue posts on my trips to Ikaho and Karuizawa. ^-^