Ah, such a lovely site, hidden away behind the trees on the edge of a mountain. Listen to the water rushing over the rocks, the far off train making its way across the bridge, the rustling leaves. Look at the sparkling water, the wild flowers within reach of the bath, the tourists watching from the hotel windows. HOTEL WINDOWS???!!!!!
Yes, directly across from the open air baths are three or four hotels and all their windows face the beautiful river and mountain scenery... and the local hot spring (the hotels each have their own hot springs anyway.) Well!
Actually the hot spring now has high wooden slats that keep the open air baths well secluded, but when we visited years ago with the children it was completely out in the open. True, one side was for men and one side was for women and true, there is quite a distance from the hotel windows opposite but one look at this place and Takumi declared he was NOT taking a bath that was this public! Tetsu didn't care, Leiya (still 6 or 7) thought it great fun and I was young enough to think of it as an adventure. Takumi waited while the rest of us watched tourists watching us...
But, as I said, the new hot spring facilities have slats now and I didn't have to worry about tourists this weekend. After my bath I went walking along the river (Tetsu takes longer in the bath) and lo and behold I came across a sign that offered co-ed facilities. Hmmm. I don't think I'm that adventurous anymore. Not that it matters. I don't think this ol' bod would attract much attention.
As I crossed the bridge to the other side of the river I looked back and sure enough, the co-ed bath was completely out in the open giving tourists (and me) a clear view of the bathers and soakers. Uh-hum. Some old grandpa was sitting there in all his glory, giving the world and me a thrill! Oh my! I definitely wouldn't be able to just slip into the water beside the old geezer and share a co-ed bath with him... (I did check out whether there were any women and there weren't...)
There's only so much togetherness I can take!