Thursday, 15 August 2013

Hachimantai: Goshogake 後生掛

We took a day trip to Hachimantai National Park, the highlight of which is Goshogake, one of my favourite places in Japan. Goshogake is a mud volcano / onsen that remains totally unknown for most people in Japan.  It is quite remote, though there is a bus that comes through several times a day, and access can be difficult  in winter.   It's relatively close to Tamagawa onsen, perhaps a 5km hike - longer by road (see map below).

Steaming sulfur rising
Looking down towards the onsen / hotel building.
Volcanic activity
The water at the onsen is in the mid 90s.
Boiling mud
Volcanic activity  - in the winter snow covers the area
Egg cooked in the onsen water "onsen tamago"
Beware the bears - it's not a joke.
Mud volcano in the middle of the national park greenery
There is a cross on one of the nearby hills; you can see it here if you look carefully.
  Last time I was here,perhaps more than 7 years ago, there was a sign explaining
a connection to St Francis Xavier and Christians who fled Kyushu during
 the persecutions in the 1500s.  The sign is no longer there.  I understand
the cross was erected after WWII.
The lake is gradually moving to the right.
Old style hydrangeas
Mud piles in a pond
Walking path
Walking paths  trails - to Hachimantai, Tamagawa and Onuma.
The signs there urge people to stay on the walking path because
of the potential for subsidence.  They are faced with the situation that
the walking trails themselves can become dangerous.
Remarkably, the water in the river is quite cool.
It's not the most clearly marked tourist destination...
It's advisable to be familiar with the timetable.

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