Euphemisms for the Travel Writer

img_20170114_124552Almost every onsen I’ve been to in Japan has been described in travel features by one of these words: “rustic”, “atmospheric” and “nostalgic”. Here, allow me to offer a light-hearted take on what these words actually mean…

Rustic – of course, the word has no association with the word “rust”. But perhaps by some satirical pun on the word, the rustic onsen/hotel/ryokan you are going to is probably literally rusting away…

Atmospheric – Not very well-maintained and in most cases, very run-down… A tad similar to “rustic” but in this case, the place probably has open-air spaces or comes without a roof…

Nostalgic – just damn freaking old, and probably abandoned in some cases. A place where people no longer give a damn to even visit. Which also means, you are likely to be the only visitor there…

Below are pictures of Kirishima’s Shin Yu Onsen (新湯温泉), a terrible irony because it’s definitely not new (新), but yes it’s very rustic and atmospheric. Oh yes, and a lot of pipes and sulfuric smoke… you would be forgiven to think that Gandalf’s secret hideout is probably somewhere in the woods behind this onsen…Thankfully, the locals still visit this place… Enjoy…

Kirishima is about an hour and a half by train from Kagoshima. The nearest train station is Kirishima Jingu Station, which is uniquely designed to resemble its namesake i.e. a shrine. Its entrance is fronted by a large torii gate and shrine lanterns. Check ahead for bus schedules to the Kirishima Shrine and the various onsen hotels (cue the above-mentioned “atmospheric onsen“) as buses tend to be infrequent.  LSdsc02993pano_20170114_112753img_20170114_161543