Monday, April 30, 2018

Japan Autumn Nov 2017 一人で日本の旅 - Fukuroda JR Station 袋田駅, Hotel Kajikaen ホテル河鹿園

Fukuroda JR Station (袋田駅) is a train station in Daigo-cho (大子町), located along Suigun line (水郡線). From Mito, it takes slightly less than 1.5 hours to reach here by local train. As the name suggests, this is the gateway to Fukuroda no taki 袋田の滝, one of the most iconic landmark of Ibaraki Prefecture.

Remember.... Dedicating this blog entry to the kind lady working at Fukuroda JR Station. When I arrived at the train station, I was surprised to see a lady, who is at least in her sixties and not wearing the staff uniform, manning the ticket counter. Reason being this is a Kan'i-itaku station (簡易委託駅) and such train station is normally operated by the "local municipality, agriculture cooperative, a store in front of the station or a private individual". When she saw me diligently pressing the inked stamps placed just beside the ticket counter onto my book, she called out to me and passed me the original train station stamp which was kept with her. I thanked her and was extremely delighted to add another inked stamp to my collection. After that, I sat down to wait for the bus heading for Fukuroda no taki which was scheduled to arrive in an hour time. She walked out from her office and passed me a map of the nearby area. When she found out I was waiting for the next bus, she recommended me to walk to my destination and return via bus instead. I was reluctant to do so initially given the fact that I had covered quite a significant amount of walking distance when I visited Tsukimachi no taki (月待の滝) earlier in the day but her sincerity eventually won me over. Spurred by the encouragement given by her and fellow older passengers I met at the train station, I set off for my goal.

She was absolutely right. Throughout the entire walking route, I was greeted by beautiful autumn foliage and it was an excellent prelude to the majestic waterfall I witnessed later on. When I returned to the train station later in the day, I could not contain my joy and excitement when I saw her. When I told her that I enjoyed myself thoroughly all thanks to the advice she has given, she responded back with a smile on her face. I always cherish and would never forget such warm gestures from people I met during my trips in a foreign country - something I constantly remind myself to reciprocate whenever opportunities arise.

Moments captured on my way from Fukuroda JR Station to Fukuroda no taki...


What’s nearby?

(1) Fukuroda no taki 袋田の滝
- 20 minutes by foot from the train station. 
- 5 minutes by Ibaraki Kotsu bus Fukuroda line 茨城交通バス 袋田線 from the train station.
(2) Hotel Kajikaen ホテル河鹿園, located within 3 minutes walk from the train station.
〒319-3523 茨城県久慈郡大子町袋田2129
Day onsen operating hours: 1100 - 1700 hrs
Fee = 500 yen + 200 yen (towel rental)

Skeptical. I ended my expedition of Fukuroda no taki earlier than expected and returned to the train station, more than an hour before the arrival of the next train heading for Mito. Was wandering around the vicinity of the train station and spotted this old and faded directional sign indicating that there is a hotel nearby which accepts day hot spring guests. Out of curiosity, I searched for the details of this hotel online and it did look pretty decent. Decided to drop by the place since I had time to kill, though at the back of my mind I was wondering whether the hotel was still in existence in such a remote area. Fortunately, after a short walk, a two-storey building appeared within sight. Fukuroda itself is a hot spring town and hotels/ryokans are established closer to Fukuroda no taki than the train station itself. Hotel Kajikaen inhabited in the less populated area and was not tapping its hot spring waters from Fukuroda Onsen source. Instead, the hotel "created" its therapeutic waters by submerging a radium stone, placed in a wooden box, into its water. I have previously tried radon (emitted as a result of radioactive decay of radium) containing hot spring in Misasa Onsen 三朝温泉 (located in Tottori Prefecture), so this was not new to me.

Awesome view. Came to the front desk where I was greeted by a middle aged lady, to pay for the hot spring facility usage and towel rental. She directed to me to their communal bathhouse which was located in a separate house but connected to the lobby by sheltered walkway. There were no other guests around when I arrived at about 3 pm, therefore I had the luxury to use the facility all by myself! Though there is only indoor pool, lined by rocks on its circumference, the enclosure has large glass panels overlooking Kuji River 久慈川 and its natural surroundings which was decorated with autumn foliage at that point of time, so it felt like an rotenburo (outdoor onsen) after all. As I had clocked at least 5 km walking that day, a soak in the hot spring felt so comfortable and rewarding! I was fully revitalised to make my way back to Mito. 


Commemorative stamps:

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