country road youth hostel

just before we moved back to fukuoka from shimane, yoshi and i took a trip to izumo and matsue. matsue is the largest city in shimane, and is also a castle town. izumo has the izumo taisha, a large shrine which is supposed to be for married couples. it is also the shrine where all the gods in japan go to in october. too bad i'm not up on japanese culture and talk all about that (in another post).

we had only planned on staying one night, but matsue is far from masuda, so when we hit the city, we decided to stay another night. we called the matsue lakeside youth hostel and got a room. the couple running the hostel were young, had a little girl just over a year old, and could speak english really well. they also did little extra things like have everyone play games after dinner, and they sent you off with a song (take me home, country english!). we joined their club, but we never made it back to the hostel. matsue is far from masuda, but it's even farther away from munakata.

as members of the club, they sent us e-mails and post cards from time to time. last spring, they moved to yufuin, in oita-ken. yufuin is an onsen town, one i've been to several times, and we were excited to be able to visit them again. with pregnancy and two small kids, though, we never made it. until last weekend. we had a lot of fun. the hostel is a bit up the mountain, near yufu-dake (mt. yufu) and has a lovely view. apparently it's number 3 (in japan and the world?) in concentration of onsen (or hot springs). we could see several steam vents from our room.

view from our room 1

yufu-dake dominates the town, you can see it pretty much anywhere in yufuin. it's an interesting shaped mountain, and even had some snow on it! this is the only shot i got of it, the clouds were hiding it most of the time we were there.


on sunday we met our hosts at a big park. yoshi and the kids had fun playing while i stayed inside (with tommy) and worked on my cross stitch (we got there before our hosts). after an hour or so, i met up with everyone and watched while the others played. on the way back, all of the children fell asleep, but we went to joyfull for dinner and then headed back to the hostel. yoshi, our host and one other guest watched soccer and then went for a hike up the mountain. thankfully all of (my) kids fell asleep rather early and i got to work on more cross stitch.

in the three years since we last met, our friends had another baby, and we had three. hiro and sasha had so much fun playing with our hosts' daughter, who is nearly five. she was in love with the baby, though, and constantly wanted to hold him.

holding the baby

we took pictures before we left, our hostess actually knew how to set the timer on my camera. embarrassed, i didn't know i could do that!

goodbye photo

then they sung us the 'goodbye song' and we were on our way. i think they actually bought this hostel (they were only the managers in shimane) because the name of the hostel is 'country road'. it is a lovely place with good people and good food. if you ever have a chance, you should check it out!

(yoshi doesn't know i have this, i think, and so don't tell him you saw this!)