Japanese Hot Springs Heal the Body and Soul

Japanese Hot Springs Heal the Body and Soul

We simply cannot talk about Japanese culture without mentioning "onsen," hot springs. There are 27,000 onsens in Japan! It is truly an onsen nation! Throughout its long history, onsens have healed the bodies and souls of countless travelers.

Each of Japan's hot springs has different temperatures, colors, smells, and special beneficial properties. Want to be cleansed? Want to be healthy? Want to feel refreshed? Whatever your needs, there is sure to be an onsen that will fulfill them.

In this issue, we will focus on these world-class Japanese "Onsens" and introduce their appeals in detail.

The Appeals of Hot Springs

The most appealing thing about a hot spring is that it instantly sweeps away the fatigue of your body! It also has the mysterious effect of refreshing your soul. Even if you are feeling down and anxious, just dipping your body into a hot spring will make you forget about everything.

However, you should know that soaking in hot spring water is not the only appeal of onsens! You can really enjoy Japanese hot springs when you take a stroll through the elegant hot spring resort area! Walking slowly through the illuminated streets at night in a yukata (light kimono), you can enjoy the uncommon and surreal atmosphere that envelops the entire area.

Also, while strolling through the area, do not forget to eat and drink the local delicacies. There is nothing more pleasant than walking through the streets of an enchanting town while sampling the local specialties.

The Japanese Who Are a Bit Picky About Bathing Etiquettes

For Japanese people, bathing etiquette in hot springs is something that is taught by their parents from childhood. It is a part of Japanese culture that sometimes children are scolded by adults for violating the rules by making too much noise.

Japanese bathing etiquette is so specific that it can be a bit of a hassle...but it is meant to ensure that everyone can enjoy hot springs in a pleasant environment, so be sure to remember it!

Once you enter the hot spring area, of course you can't wait to jump in! However, you cannot just do so. The dirt on your body will pollute the hot spring water. It is good manners to wash your body first. Be careful not to splash water on other guests.

Once the used bath stools and buckets have been cleaned and put back in their original places, it is finally time to take a dip in the hot spring. Make sure you choose a place to put your feet that is farthest away from where the hot water is flowing out of the spring. It is bad manners to soak where the cleanest water flows. Long hair and towels are also not sanitary and should never be placed in the hot spring.

When leaving the bath area, be sure to dry yourself as much as possible. A wet changing area can cause discomfort to other guests, and there is also the possibility of slipping and falling.

What do you think about all these rules? Many people may find this more bothersome than expected. However, it is part of Japanese culture to enjoy onsen while observing proper bathing etiquette! Please enjoy soaking in an onsen with a sense of consideration even if it is a little troublesome.

Dogo Onsen

Dogo Onsen, located in Ehime Prefecture, is the oldest existing hot spring in Japan.

It is famous for a legend of a lone egret that is said to have flown in every day to heal its wounded body. It is so majestic in appearance that it is said to have been used as the setting for the movie "Spirited Away.” However, Dogo Onsen is undergoing restoration and repairs until 2024. Nevertheless, some of the bathhouses are still open while restoration work continues, so this is a good chance to enjoy a different side of Dogo Onsen.

Hakone Onsen

Hakone Onsen, located in Kanagawa Prefecture, is one of the largest hot spring resorts in Japan, with as many as 17 hot springs. One way to enjoy Hakone Onsen is to visit each one and find your personal favorite.

Hakone Onsen is popular not only for its hot springs, but also for its many long-established inns with a history of over hundreds of years. Some of these hotels have even been designated as national important cultural properties! Spending the night in one of these historical buildings will be a memorable experience of a lifetime.

Beppu Onsen

Beppu Onsen, located in Oita Prefecture, is Japan's largest hot spring resort in terms of both the number of sources and the amount of water that flows out of it! It is one of the best hot spring resorts in Japan, with the entire surrounding area covered in a cloud of steam. In addition to soaking in the hot water, visitors can enjoy slightly different types of hot springs such as sand baths, mud baths, and steam baths.

Even though Beppu Onsen has become a tourist attraction, bathing fees are still relatively reasonable because many local residents use it. There is no need to worry about your wallet!

Also famous is a gourmet dish called "jigoku-mushi" (steamed in hell). This is a unique hot spring cuisine where seafood and vegetables are steamed in the steam of the hot spring, and is very popular because it allows you to taste the original flavor of all the ingredients. Onsen egg, pudding, and other items can be easily enjoyed on the spot, so be sure to try them when you visit Beppu Onsen.

Relax And Refresh Yourself in a Hot Spring

In this article, we have introduced the history of the onsen, bathing etiquette, and recommended locations.

Onsens are an indispensable way to end a day of travel. You can relax and heal your body and soul while experiencing the uniquely Japanese atmosphere. A stroll through an onsen town will surely add to your stay! When traveling in Japan, be sure to check out the hot springs close to where you are accommodated!