14degrees off the beaten track
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August 11th, 2012 | categorizilation: all categories,Hokkaido (Japan),Japan,Post-2008,Shiretoko Tour (2012)

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The  hiking troupe had planned for today to be a rest day, so we decided it was a great chance to take the day off too. The day began with an open-air hot spring down the road from okaasan’s place, and only about 1m from the lake’s edge. Originally built as a private onsen by the mayor of Teshikaga, it is now open to the public.

Kotan open-air hotspring in Kotan (Hokkaido, Japan)

Later in the morning we all bundled into Leon’s car and visited the well-known (evidenced by hordes of tourists) Suna-yu Onsen. Basically this is a 300m stretch of lake-side beach where anyone with a pair of hands (or preferably a shovel) can dig into the sand and make their own hotspring pit.

Suna-yu (dig-your-own-hotspring) at Lake Kusharo (Hokkaido, Japan)

Suna-yu (dig-your-own-hotspring) at Lake Kusharo (Hokkaido, Japan)

Leon, being un-intimidated by the chilly weather and chillier lake, jumped into the lake for a swim.

Paddling in Lake Kusharo (Hokkaido, Japan)

The next stop was a nearby sulfur-spewing mountain-side. Complete with un-roped-off steam vents, spewing ultra hot steam out of the ground. What is a man to do with such novelty but to throw his hat onto the hole to see if it will make the hat fly up into the air?

Sulfur mountain near Kawayu (Hokkaido, Japan)

It didn’t work, evaporating my giddy curiosity into pained embarrassment when I almost burned myself retrieving the hat from the scalding hole.

Staying at Ric's mother-in-law's place in Kotan (Hokkaido, Japan)

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