Notsuke Peninsula and Betsukai-Peat hot spring 野付半島
Day 21, September 2016,
We breakfast and pack up as usual. We bid farewell to our Osaka gent but of our young cyclist there is no sign. His tent is tied up tight but, I suspect, it barely contains the raging hangover within.
Leaving the Odaito fureai campsite, we drive a short distance to Notsuke hanto(peninsula) The drive along the peninsula is of some distance before we come to the barrier that is the limit of vehicular traffic. From the car park, we walk along the track with high reeds stretching out on either side. These reeds, for the most part, obscure the pools of brackish water. We reach a bird watching hide and slip inside. There are ducks arriving constantly but not to the stretch of open water visible from the hide so our binoculars are useless.
Giving up, we drive back to the nature centre and walk an elevated path across the marsh (Todowara) for maybe 2 kilometers or more. We see many birds, herons, ducks and finally as we are driving away a stork.
These marshes provide some very interesting scenery, flat desolate marsh with stark dead trees standing in water or on muddy sand bars. The shallow sea held hardly at bay. On either side of the road, along the sand bar, stand abandoned and crumbling buildings of former fishing glory, plus rotting trucks and rusting, crumpled infrastructure.
Back on the main road, shortly after leaving the wild life protection area, I am very pleased to see a White Tailed Sea Eagle on a shingle beach.
Shortly after, we spot another Northern Fox, trotting along the side of the road. We stop hoping to get a picture. but it was gone.
Betsukai Fureai Campsite
The landscape, away from the coast, is a little dull and, at a loss, we decide to visit a salmon park. The salmon park is in a large building, visible from some distance away. There is an enormous car park entirely empty save a truck with Fukuoka plates. At the entrance, we baulk at the ticket price and suspect this is the reason for the empty car park.
Leaving the Salmon park unvisited, we head for our next camp site. This site also proves to be less than the minimum we expected. It is still relatively early so we move on to an alternative site in Betsukai town. This is much better though a little strange. We are in the car park of a large park with cooking facilities. There is no one around apart from the person in the office overseeing the park and campsite, and, even though we are the only campers, we are regaled with piped music on a rather short loop.
Betsukai Korakuen Onsen
On the bright side, this site has an onsen (hot spring) within walking distance so we walk through the park and up a small rise to a large, very good onsen with dark brown water ,which I assume to be iron, and a very powerful bubble bath. This, we later discover, to be the number one onsen for this kind of brown water (Moor hot spring) in Japan. It is not iron at all, but peat.
＊Betsukai fureai campsite 300 yen / per. + 800 yen / a car
＊Betsukai Korakuen hot spring 510yen / person
The author is a long term resident of Japan who has and continues to travel the country extensively. Avoiding highways where possible, the author has driven from Kagoshima in Kyushu to Wakanai in Hokkaido covering 20,000 plus kilometres and counting.