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Travel Journal

A Favourite Pastime for Tokyoites
Healing at Hot Springs

by Ritsuko

As soon as I arrive at the hot springs resort, I change my clothes to a cotton kimono (traditional robe) for going bathing. Holding a bath towel, I seek the entrance of the outdoor hot springs.

The smell of sulfur and steam from the boiling mineral water invites me to the rock-bounded bathtubs. I slip into the hot springs. Gazing at the beautiful Japanese landscapes, gradually, I feel relaxed and enjoy peace of mind.

Recently, the spas in Tokyo have become very popular as a trendy healing spot. Visiting Onsen, hot springs, is our favourite custom, which gives us the ultimate relaxation.

The Traditional Hot Springs

Our traditional hot springs are mostly located in rural areas, and the hotels or the accommodations operate the baths with spring water in their courtyards. Normally, all the baths are divided into two sections between men and women since we have to be naked and wash our bodies for bathing. This custom may sound peculiar to foreign people; however, to keep the spring water clean and to have a comfortable bath time with others, following these rules is essential.

The Current Spas in the City

Some spas in Tokyo and its surrounding prefectures have modernized. Maintaining the original hot springs, they have started providing Western-style spas; that means no separate section—the visitors need swimsuits. The luxurious facilities, various amenities and the reasonable service satisfy families and couples. They can amuse themselves by taking a bath together. Year by year, I find more foreign visitors relaxing at the city spas.

The Effects of Bathing

Hot springs have many effects on human health. The hot mineral water refreshes our weary minds and bodies. It also works for muscle pain, backache and blood circulation.