Visiting Japan’s Onsen towns

One thriving part of Japanese culture that is a must for visitors are onsen. Onsen are natural hot springs that are scattered throughout the country, thanks to Japan’s location in a volcanic region. Onsen each have different combinations of minerals that are believed to have medical benefits. You can visit indoor and outdoor onsen, as well as private, public, mixed gender, and separate gender. Many resort towns have sprung up around onsen to cater to visitors from around the world. Here is a look at some of the most popular locations.

Kusatsu Onsen

This resort is one of the most popular for people who want to visit onsen. Three hot springs feed water into the onsen at this resort, which is famed for using a traditional method of cooling the springs called yumomi. Yumomi involves using large paddles made of wood that fan the water to reduce the temperature. Visitors can enjoy a demonstration of yumomi being performed each day at the Netsu No Yu bathhouse.

Kurokawa Onsen

Kurokawa onsens in Kumamoto is the perfect choice for visitors in search of a more rustic experience. You won’t find high-rise hotels or flashing lights in this onsen town but rather a town that has carefully preserved an older way of life. There are three open-air baths as well as ample hiking experiences around the town, which sits between Mount Aso and the Kuju mountains.

Dogo Onsen

Dogo onsen, which can be found in Matsuyama, is the oldest in the country. The public bath opened in 1894 and is surrounded by a three-story, traditionally designed structure. Viewers of the film Spirited Away will recognize the building, as it was the inspiration for a bathhouse that appears in the animated feature.

Although the onsen of Japan may be far away, Japanese food is not, thanks to House of Genji. Come experience teppanyaki and hibachi dining at our Japanese restaurant in San Jose. You can learn more about our menu by calling (408) 453-8120.

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