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2007 May 20 Sunday.

Oh!!!   What a FEELING!    

Welcome back to FukiAge OnSen 吹上温泉.   

To get there, take Route 237 until you get to Biei Town 美瑛, then turn left at the first signal light in front of the 7-11.   

When you make that left turn, you will be on Route 966 headed for ShiroGane Spa 白金温泉.    

As you drive through the area where the hotels are located, you will arrive at a turnoff to the right, when you reach the end of the hotel district.   

This is called the 白樺ゲート and is in fact a closed gate during the winter months.   

Today it was open, and we continued our drive up the hill to the base of Mt.

Tokachi 十勝岳 until we got to the observation area 望岳台.   

Before you actually get all the way up to the observation area, there is another gate, which is also now open, that will take you the rest of the way to FukiAge Spa.   

We took that road also, after spending some time at the 望岳台.   

Even though the gravel parking lot at the entrance to the footpath which leads down to the bathing tubs was completely clear of snow, the foot path itself was not.   

This snowy condition made my short trek down to the tubs themselves a risky adventure.   

Any misstep or a break away of the snow under my sandals, could have easily resulted in me, or any other person, in falling down a steep, but not too long slope, and into the rock layered cold water stream below.   

So far, it doesn't seemed to have happened. 

At least not this year.   

Today, the hot water in the upper tub, was at about 44.5 degrees C.   

It was really hot.   

The actual temperature of the undiluted hot spring near the surface of the earth, is about 60 degrees C. 

Much, much too hot for any mammal or fish to get into for even a second or two.   

You can't fool Mother Nature.   

The only reason the upper tub is usable, is because there is a hose attached to a higher area of the cold stream which comes from the mountain SNOW MELT, and down into the valley below, and it mixes with the very very hot spring water, in the small upper tub itself. 

The result is PERFECTION.   

If you already live in Hokkaido, and have never been to this location, you are truly missing something special.   

I come here on a regular basis, but only during the season of no snow. 

Oh!  By the way, this very excellent hot tub facility, is well maintained. 

In fact, today when I got into the upper tub, I met for the first time, the older gentleman who does the actual draining, and cleaning of these two all rock tubs.   

It was obvious to me that he had done just such a cleaning job, in the very recent past.   

Perhaps today or yesterday.   

The all stone tubs were immaculate.   

Thank you for your hard labors my friend.   

It was an honor to meet you today.   

I hope to see you again soon, at the same location.    

This IS the ESSENCE of HOKKAIDO.

********************************

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