Gero Hot Springs

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Gero Hot Springs

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a whole month since my last post. Now that the weathers nice we have been busy bees in Japan. I know  everyone’s been at the edge of their seats wondering what Mike and Alyssa have been up to. But don’t worry we haven’t forgotten about you!

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Charlie Chaplin statue in Gero

The weekend after Mike’s birthday we headed northwest to a small Onsen town called Gero. It happens to be one of the top 3 Onsen’s to visit in Japan.

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Picturesque Gero

Why is it named Gero, one may ask…well here in Japan “Gero” is the sound frogs make, and since this town is full of little rivers, streams, and onsens there must be a lot of frogs around. We actually never did see a real life frog, but we did see a shrine that was dedicated to frogs. The Japanese word for frog is “Kaeru” which also means “return” so frogs can symbolize the return of anything…good fortune, love, happiness etc.

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Frog shrine

Of course the first thing we did when we arrived in town was find ourselves lunch which ended up being delicious Hida beef cooked over a Mongolian leaf which added a really powerful but delicious taste to the meal, and it was fun to be in charge of our own grilling.IMG_4173The highlight of our 24 hour trip was the stunning and historical Ryokan that we stayed at. The Yunoshimaken is a guest house that opened in 1931, was at one point a luxury hotel where high profile Japanese people went to vacation. The  previous Emperor Showa and the current Emperor Akihito both have stayed here. We had to hike up a pretty significant amount of stairs to get to this mystical place.

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Hiking up to Yunoshimaken

 

Upon arriving, we were greeted with extreme hospitality that made us feel lighthearted and confused at the same time. Even though we’ve been here for 6 months we are still not used to everyone’s politeness. We were guided to our room, which turned out to be huge and had an amazing view as well as an open air bathroom! We felt like kings and queens.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon soaking in the beautiful outdoor Onsen and exploring the historical hotel that has a very spooky but alluring feel to it.

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Spirited away

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A room with a view!

For dinner we headed back into town to try some river fish that was pretty tasty despite the fact that I couldn’t commit to eating the head and eyes!

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In the morning, we were served our very first traditional Japanese Breakfast, which consisted mostly of fish, tofu, rice and miso. Surprise surprise!

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Our first Japanese breakfast

 

 

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