24 hours of Japanese perfection
Finally it is time to cover one of my big passions in life. And one of the big reasons why Japan will always remain one of my favorite travel destinations. I am talking about the Japanese hot springs! So called onsens. Because of the volcanic activity going on all over the country, relaxing in hot springs is an old and very natural part of Japanese life. There are over 3000 hot springs to be found all over the country with different kind of waters, some with therapeutic effects. Many villages have developed around those areas and are known as onsen towns. To visit a classic onsen town the nicest way, and often the only way, is to check in to a traditional Japanese guest house, called ryokan. In onsen towns almost all ryokans have their own baths but a common way to experience an onsen town is to go “onsen hopping”. In some villages you can do this free of charge if you stay at one of the ryokans in town, or against a very affordable amount. To actually stay in a ryokan is rather pricy but it is really worth it. You will be treated as a queen and the ambiance is made for unwinding. The food that will be served is the so called Kaiseki style which is Japanese haute cuisine. Honestly, in my taste not so exiting flavors. But a pleasure for the eye that needs to be experienced at least once.
I have been in Japan twice and have a lot to share about this topic. First out is Kurokawa onsen town. One of the top rated Japanese onsen towns, found in the forest in the region Kyushu. I visited this place in October 2012 and I absolutely loved it. I stayed in the amazing Ryokan Sanga. Apart from enjoying the onsens belonging to Sanga (both inside and Rotenburos which are the once located outside in natural settings) I also bought a onsen hopping pass that allowed me to visit three other onsens in Kurokawa. The first picture above is a self portrait made in a private bath which I could use for one hour. It was a magic experience. Looking at my pictures brings back a feeling of peace in me and an urge to go back!
After my evening onsen experience around the facility I sat down and enjoyed my Kaiseki meal. This is according to tradition done in your robe, a traditional Yukata. The Yukata is worn around the whole facility and also in town if you go onsen hopping. Kaiseki consists of a lot of small dishes, prepared to perfection. Some of the dishes are boiled or fried at the table by yourself. After dinner my bed was made up on the floor in my room and the next day a Kaiseki breakfast was waiting followed by more bathing 😀
Posted on May 11, 2014, in Japan and tagged Japan, Japanese guesthouse, Japanese hot springs, Japanese onsen, Kaiseki, Kurokawa, Kyushu, Photography, Photos, Resor, Ryokan, Sanga ryokan, Travel. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.