Where Two Campers Become One Bean – Akita and Aomori Prefectures

We set off after a tear jerking farewell from family Jibiki and on our way to Lake Tazawa via a Historic Samurai Town, Kakunodate machi. It also shares names with the synonymous Samurai town (武家屋敷) and “The Little Kyoto of Tohoku”(みちのく小京都) . In this town even the 7/11 is styled in the ancient ways.


We dropped into the oldest and ‘most established’ house too.


Eventually we made our way up to Lake Tozawa and found an impeccable camp ground with water, hot showers ($2, or a nice free lake shower – Ross), games and beautiful views. Finally giving the tent some much needed TLC by drying it off from the Niigata showers a week ago, we were ready for another cozy night: 2 boys 1 tent.


The next morning we left our stuff at camp and climbed a solid… 600-ish metres up to basically go have a bath where crowds of people can almost see you, great idea Carl. The place was called Tsurunoyu Onsen (Hot water of the Crane, Tsuru like Tsuru no Ongaeshi). It is one of eight hot-spring baths that belong to Nyutou Onsenkyo which is located near the foot of Nyutou san (1478m). Tsurunoyu Onsen is one of the oldest hot spring resorts of Nyutou Onsenkyo. The water is milky smooth and semi translucent. The day was an absolute scorcher so we couldn’t stay in the water for too long as the main attraction is an outdoor onsen. Once again Carl’s spirits were dampened by the fact that even though it was an outdoor mixed onsen, no rigs turned up. So don’t be expecting anything like the image below.



My brake fluid was running red hot on the way downhill. Restaurants were pretty scant at this time as it’s still not really tourist season, so it was off to the conbini for another lunch and dinner. We were both getting sick of the food at this stage, I love my fried chicken and America Dogs, but once you realise you haven’t gone to the bathroom for like a week because you can’t get vegetables from the measly dried up onion pieces in your cup ramen, your body starts to hate you.

We went back to the campsite and found a slack line and gave it a crack. Being an Aussie of course I (Ross) did it in thongs. Why? Just to prove that I could. The record even still stands firmly with my 7 (I think it was) strides. Next will be back flips.


This is where the title comes into play, campers turning into the lonely bean. Originally this blog was Coin Laundry Campers, however due to differing expectations and priorities the blog had to be changed, due to the fact that as I write this now (early June) Carl is on his way back to Australia to start a new job. Thus, we go from 2 happy Campers to 1 simple Bean. Also meaning that this will ONLY be Ross writing from here going forward (and the last few posts as I’m a little behind now). So all the best to Carl, and as the Japanese would say Sayonara. But coz I’m Aussie of course it’d be more like Sahyonahrah MATE.

(To his credit, he did make it to Sapporo in Hokkaido where we met for roughly an hour. So I guess he did get through maybe 2/5s of the trip).

With not much left to do around the lake I went further north for Aomori, the ol’ blue forest prefecture. And it lived up to my high expectations. If Bob Ross was still around I’m betting he’d be getting his inspiration from there instead of the usual Alaska (rest his soul).

It was a very mountainous climb and pretty sure I rode about 130kms that day, but right at the end, the path to the campsite suddenly went perpendicular. However the views at the end were well worth walking my bike up.



I had however planned to set up the tent then go back into town to buy some food and come back. But with the thought of having to come back up that hill, I decided I would have to made do with whatever was in my bags:

  • Bag of marshmallows
  • 2 powdered soups received as a ‘service’ from when Kelli and I stayed at the love hotel
  • A flint

I eventually got the fire started from some old man’s beard in the forest nearby and roasted up a very healthy and nutritious dinner.


Full tum, ready for some sleep.


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