The smell of onsens

Since today's trip should not be terribly long, we decide to first start with what we couldn't do yesterday, visit the castle. A couple of other tourists are already waiting until the castle opens, right on time. This castle also seems to have been preserved very well, and the collection of firearms on display is quite impressive.
When we get back on the road, the start is relatively boring. First we have to navigate through Matsumoto, then about 50 kilometres of express-way. When we leave the express-way though, we once more find ourselves on hills and mountains, and a brief detour takes us right to the foot of a volcano.
Although the top of the volcano remains hidden in the cloud cover, the view around it is impressive, as are the rough boulders that are strewn around the countryside. A quick meal later, we continue for the last part of today's route. And once more, after the last attraction along the route, it starts to lightly rain. At the hotel, motorbikes once more give us VIP treatment, as we get to park right next to the front door, even though officially the street is closed for all traffic.
Kusatsu is one of the most famous onsen towns, and in the middle of the village, from a large pool the hot water wells up, along with the strong smell of sulphur. The town is officially an interesting place, according to the Japanese government, on account of its unique smell, which because of the sulphur-content doesn't leave much to the imagination.
Fortunately, Sai no kawara, the large rotemburo (outdoor bath) doesn't hold as strong a smell as the centre of the village does, and this is an excellent place to soak for a while, before going back to the hotel to enjoy the evening meal.