Hell's Valley

Japan in Winter (2020): Day 3: Heaven and ‘Hell’

Breakfast & Hotel Tour

A member of staff arrived at 7:30 to begin setting up for our 8am breakfast. Just like dinner the previous evening, but on a smaller scale, this turned out to be an array of beautifully presented small treats – an amazing way to start the day! We had our showers afterwards and were ready to venture outside by 11am. (We had previously been asked to choose a 2hr slot for having our room cleaned.) It turned out that now was a perfect time to photograph the hotel’s public areas, as they were all but deserted.

Hell Valley

We soon left for a walk along ‘Hell Valley’ (Jigokudani), situated a little bit above the resort town and forming part of the Shikotsu-Toya National Park. There was lots of geothermal activity in evidence, providing the spa waters for the town. As ever in such places, there was also a pungent smell of sulphur. Water leaves the ground at around 60C and cools as it flows down to the town.

We eventually walked back into town, visited a couple of shops and made a beer stop at a small pizzeria. Then it was back to the hotel for a light DIY lunch of items bought at a 7-ELEVEN store. We both agreed that the Japanese version of this brand was far better than the ones we were used to in the USA.

Back at Takinoya

After lunch we relaxed for a bit and then went for another baths session on level B2. It was a bit busier today, and we couldn’t help noticing that two separate Chinese guests ignored Japanese etiquette by failing to wash before entering the pool.

Back upstairs, we simply relaxed and enjoyed our suite until time for our second dinner experience at 7pm. This was another amazing spread of small plates, which we again enhanced by ordering a medium bottle of sake. This was another excellent experience, although I thought that a couple of the items involved an awful lot of work for the resulting ‘taste experience’.

Once again, it was a relatively early night.