Our main to-do list in 鹿児島 Kagoshima included taking the pretty train to 指宿 Ibusuki, and to check out the 砂むし sand bath over there!
There are 3 return trains for Limited Express 指宿のたまて箱 Ibusuki-no-Tamatebako per day, so making reservations is a must!
The interior of the train is very pretty and there are seats that are facing the windows, so that passengers can enjoy the coastal scenery in its full glory. Unfortunately, those seats are extremely popular, and we did not manage to reserve them.
It was OK though, for everyone was busy walking within the train and standing up to take pictures during the 50-minute train ride. There was also a staff who provided some props and helped everyone take pictures 🙂 This was the most lively train ride we had so far 😀
We took the earliest limited express 指宿のたまて箱 Ibusuki-no-Tamatebako (¥2140) at 09:58 from JR鹿児島中央駅 JR Kagoshima Chuo Station, and arrived at JR指宿駅 JR Ibusuki Station at 10:49. After alighting, we had only 6 minutes at the Visitor Information Centre in the station to ask for directions to the sand bath, grab a bus timetable, and then dash across the road to catch the bus at 11:10.
It was a quick 4-min ride to 砂むし会館 砂楽 Sunamushi Kaikan Saraku (¥140) (or a 25-min walk if you preferred a stroll).
Once we got off the bus, we proceeded to the 2nd floor of the building to purchase our tickets. We took the ¥1400 package, which consisted of:
- ¥1080 for usage of 砂むしsand bath and 温泉 onsen, and the mandatory 浴衣 yukata,
- ¥120 for a face towel, required while using the sand bath to prop your head up, and you get to keep this as souvenir,
- ¥200 for rental of bath towel.
Well, so if you had brought your own face towel and bath towel (or if you are able to dry yourself with just the face towel), you only need to spend ¥1080. Do remember to bring your own toiletries, such as comb, facial products, etc, as only shampoo and shower gel were provided. Everything else was available from the vending machine at a cost 🙂
Only cash is accepted at the payment counter, and instructions on what to do are listed above the counter, or you could also scan the QR code and watch a video on what to expect. There are different sizes available for the yukata, so do remember to check the sizes!
Once we got the stuff, we went to the 1st floor, where we parted ways to get changed, and met up again to walk to the sand bath. The route is well-marked, so no worries about getting lost. Each group could bring 1 camera / phone for the staff to help take some pictures of everyone being buried 🙂 The staff would place your camera / phone in a small plastic bag and leave it by your side, so no bulky cameras please.
Once we laid down on the sand, the staff proceeded to bury us, one shovel of sand at a time. The lukewarm sand felt a little heavy, and we felt comfortably warmed. There were many clocks at the sand bath, for we had to keep track of the time and get up after approximately 10 minutes, else we might risk getting burnt.
Since the area was sheltered, it was actually very relaxing to just close our eyes, enjoy the light sea breeze, listen to the soothing sounds of the waves crashing onto the shore, and feeling our own pulsing heart beats. Despite not feeling too warm, we were definitely sweating a lot after 10 minutes!
We followed the route back to the gender-separated facilities to return the yukata and got ourselves cleaned up (try the jet shower in one of the cubicles!). Then we showered and enjoyed the onsen for a while before meeting up again at 2nd floor to rest and rehydrate. We had some time to go up to the balcony at 3rd floor to enjoy the sea view, and also spotted a small restaurant, before catching the 13:10 bus back to JR指宿駅 JR Ibusuki Station.
For lunch, we tried the さつま定食 Satsuma Set Menu (¥1780) and いぶすき黒豚丼 Ibusuki Kurobuta Don (¥900) at 青葉 Aoba, and it was a very enjoyable meal 🙂
After lunch, we were feeling quite lazy, and since the foot bath just outside the train station looked so inviting, we spent a leisurely time soaking our feet while waiting for our train 😀
|黒豚と郷土料理 青葉 Aoba:
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