JAPAN THERMAL SPA PHOTO GUIDE
1500 years of onsen tradition !
Japan has thousands of thermal springs from Shiretoko, Hokkaido to Sakurajima, Kyushu. At some 1,800 of these springs, Onsen resorts have sprung up over 2,000 years of Japanese love of a healing, hot bath. The nation's hot-spring spas are among its most enjoyable destinations, with a fantastic array of variations on the seemingly simple act of soaking in hot mineral waters.
Onsens and the Ryokan`s (Inn`s) around them offer unbelievable richness
of healing, gastronomy, culture, art and history. Most Ryokans pipe their
hot-spring waters indoor to their O-furo (bath) made from Japanese cypress,
marble or granite, while some have built pools outdoors called Roten-buro,
open year-round, to enjoy during a light snow fall or the autumn foliage
(Kouyo) often in the midst of a small Zen-garden.
Certain once-remote Onsen were discovered ages past when hunters, pursuing wounded game, tracked the animal down to the bubbling pool where it instinctively went for healing. Buddhist monks, centuries ago, sponsored by the Imperial family, discovered and developed some of todays best thermal springs. Some Samurai lords even had favorite hot springs where they would go when wounded in battle to speed the healing process.
One of the oldest onsens, Dogo Onsen, with a history stretching back 1500 years is even mentioned in the Man'yōshū (written c. 759), and according to legend even Prince Shotoku (574-622) visited Dogo Onsen. Arima Onsen is also ancient, documented in Makura no zoshi (written 1002) by Sei Shonagon as a popular onsen of Heian Japan with Nanakuri Onsen, Nasu Onsen, Tsukasa Onsen, Tomoni Onsen and Sakakibara Onsen in Ise. Many Onsen date back hundreds of years and their Ryokan`s (Inn`s) have been operated by the same family for many generations, continuing local traditional cuisine of unparalleled variety and genuine gourmet food culture. Most Japanese, from Haiku-poet Basho to Netsume Soseki, regularly visited their favorite Onsens, stayed at their preferred Ryokans as today millions of Japanese enjoy this rich, unique, purifying, healing and rewarding culture.
Indeed. A few days in an onsen-ryokan with family, friends, beloved ones, is surely a life quality experience of unforgettable character. Vedi Napoli e poi muori.........See Naples and recover in an Onsen-Ryokan.