Japanese Onsen: Hot Springs Everywhere in the Kansai Area
Do you like hot springs? If so, then if you visit Japan, you will feel like you are in Heaven…if you don’t mind taking your clothes off and bathing with a bunch of other naked people; usually same-sex, not the opposite.
Japan is loaded with hot springs. The country lies along the Rim of Fire and has several active volcanoes. Below the earth’s surface, molten lava heats spring water and provides the country with a vast number of healthy mineral hot springs, or onsen in Japanese.
In the Kansai area of Japan, and about anywhere else throughout the country, you can rest assured that you will be able to find a hot spring to bathe and relax in. Some onsens, incorrect Japanese since Japanese don’t have a plural form of words, are a little pricier than others, but they are all generally cheap, from a few hundred yen to a few thousand depending on how popular and beautiful the onsen is.
To find hot springs in the Kansai area, all you have to do is go to a train or bus station and look around for fliers, Google Japanese onsen, or ask a Japanese friend to take you to a good one. Most Japanese know somewhere nice to go or can find one in your price range and flavor by grabbing a flier.
Onsen tours are popular for Japanese. Booking an onsen tour usually includes a bus ride, hotel accommodations, dinner and a breakfast for a low price. The bus rides are fairly comfortable and enable you to view Japan via large windows, great for snapping off photos. The food is usually exceptional and you will most likely leave the table stuffed before you head to the onsen to bathe. So don’t overeat! You won’t want to feel like a stuffed pig in hot water!
There are many very large hot springs where equally large numbers of people visit. They are good to visit and most are beautiful. But if you wish to have a more peaceful, relaxing bath away from the crowds, you may want to travel outside the city you are in to find a more secluded onsen. Onsens in the countryside tend to be smaller, but some have breathtaking outdoor hot pools to bathe in with views and gardens to capture your eye and ease your body. If you find an onsen like that, and there are many, you’ll definitely feel like you’re in Heaven, however, only temporarily, not eternally!
Read more about the author of this post: Kyle Yates is an American English teacher living and working in the Kansai area since 1996. Read more from this author
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