11 December 2008 ~ 11 Comments

10 ways NOT to go loco in Yokohama #7: Escape from Yokohama

I was trying to find a clip that captures how I feel when I’m able to escape from Yokohama for a weekend or even overnight.

Loco crawled to freedom through 500 yards of shit-smelling foulness…

A little dramatic, I know. But, that’s almost how I feel sometimes. The best part is it makes the escape just that much sweeter!

My favorites?

1- Kusatsu - In an earlier post I mentioned Kusatsu. It’s a popular onsen area in Gunma Prefecture. My spot is up in the mountains. A little place called Shiriyaki尻焼き. Yes, that’s right

Shiriyaki

Onsen in Kusatsu

Kozansou Hotel

Kozansou Hotel

(for you nihongo-literate people) it means Burnt Ass. It’s in a river, free, open air and co-ed. Best time to go? After a snowfall. It’s so damn picturesque! If it feels like paradise and looks like paradise then it ain’t Disney Sea. The hotel I stayed at was called Kozansou (光山荘) It wasn’t particularly all that- a little low tech, but it was decent and the food was pretty good.

2- Nikko – It was difficult to make Nikko number two but only one can be number one. Nikko reigned supreme until I visited Kusatsu. I’ve been to Nikko a number of times. It’s convenient as hell and there are things to do aside from soak your bottom.  You can go see the monkeys, for example. Okay, it’s not a thrill a second but it’s something. The monkeys there have been known to mug and/or assault people so I call them the gangster chimps.  Here’s a video I found on the tube to illustrate:

There are also some caged monkeys, but I hate to see caged animals (or people for that matter.)

Then there’s Kegon Waterfall, but don’t take a taxi to the top…do yourself a favor and hop on a bus, unless you’re okanemochi (rich.) I did.  Big mistake. There’s usually a traffic jam and it wound up taking 90 minutes and costing damn near $100. Kegon is no Niagara Falls (I’m a New Yorker, you know I had to go there) but it’s chyo kawaii (sooooo cute!) (-:

Also you can check out Lake Chuzenji or make your way up Nantai Yama. It’s awesome!

dsc04401lake-chuzenji-and-nantaiyama-san

Kegon looks better from afar doesn’t it? (so do I for that matter)

489_nikko_kegon_waterfall

And of course there are a hundred friggin shrines and temples everywhere but if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all (-: Just joking, kinda. Actually Nikko has some of the most beautiful and colorful shrines I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen quite few.)2619642337_c5f1c2575f_o

And of course there’s the Onsen. I’ve been to  several and I honestly can’t tell you the name of the hotels I stayed at but they were all great. Each had a different type of onsen. My favorite was one tucked into the side of a mountain.

3- Kawaguchiko-Mt. Fuji- New year’s eve 2006 I popped over to Kawaguchi-ko. WOW! It was friggin cold! But, the onsen was wonderful and if you can catch the reflection of Mount Fuji off of the lake it’s really something to see. Of course when I went it was a little cloudy so the top of Fuji was hidden. That night however I could see it clearly, but my 1998 Sony Cyber-shot with the 2 megapixels was like, “And? Mofo if you wanna be Jimmy Olsen you better upgrade!” So I had to clip one from a most generous blogger (thanks!)

Kawaguchiko

locokawaguchiko

kawaguchiko

Well, what else can I say? You gotta escape Yokohama as often as possible to keep your wits from escaping you! And Onsens do it for me. You’ll come back to the city refreshed and ready to swallow all the obscenities they can throw at you, for a couple of months at least (-; I’m trying to book a holiday escape right now.

Next up: #8: Find a Role Model

Loco

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11 Responses to “10 ways NOT to go loco in Yokohama #7: Escape from Yokohama”

  1. Locohama 12 December 2008 at 8:37 am Permalink

    you'll be glad you did!!!

    Loco

  2. Tony 12 December 2008 at 9:11 am Permalink

    Hey, very nice photos there. I'm from L.A. and have been showcasing the beauty of Japan through onsen, sake, and food for a number of years. We are of the same pigmentation.

  3. zurui 12 December 2008 at 12:30 pm Permalink

    Loco,

    Great pix! I'm dying to get to an onsen.
    Burnt ass…LOL! Sweeeeeeet.

    Trackback at BT

  4. mirinare 14 December 2008 at 5:52 pm Permalink

    I wouldn't mind having to be sitting next to a Mafia monkey if I can go to those mountainside hot springs :)

    • Locohama 14 December 2008 at 10:00 pm Permalink

      mirinare-san, it's TOTALLY worth it, even the monkeys enjoy them (-; SERIOUSLY

      Loco

  5. Jehova C. Clarke 24 March 2010 at 3:24 am Permalink

    Haha, I liked the Shawshank analogy. God I love that film.

    Agreed, Kusatsu is a top escape spot. I can't remember the name of the lodge I stayed in there a few years ago but it's apparently state-funded. Show them your national health insurance card and it's super cheap to stay there. I don't have national health insurance but it was still really cheap. Word is that there are several such places around Japan. It wasn't cheap quality either. Totally recommend such places.

  6. Tony 11 December 2008 at 5:55 pm Permalink

    That looks amazing. I want to go right now!

  7. Locohama 11 December 2008 at 6:15 pm Permalink

    Me too!!!

    Loco

  8. billywest 12 December 2008 at 8:12 am Permalink

    Some nice suggestions! I definitely want to chill in a private mountainside onsen bath at least one time this winter.


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