Hot Spring: Onsen - A Source of Relaxation and Revitalisation
The Niseko area is blessed not only with an abundance of snow , but also an abundance of onsen or hot springs. All the main base areas have onsen within them and there are many more accessible by car or bus in close proximty. This adundance and proximity to the ski areas makes it an easily accessible apres ski activity to soak away those pains and rest those weary bodies.
Onsen to the Japanese are a way to relax and revitalise, many are rich in minerals which are associated with numerous health benefits, helping to relieve muscle and joint pain and arthiritis. But even if you don't have any serious ailments or injuries they are well known for the relaxing effect they have on your body.
Onsen hot springs are essentially a communal bath or sento and these days are generally single sex where women and men bathe seperately. Onsen ediquette is some what different from using hot springs or spas in other countires. One of the major differences is that bathers bathe naked using a small bath towel while entering and leaving the onsen if your modest. Bathing naked is said to even break down the barriers in society even more adding to the sharing experience. Another difference worth noting is that bathers wash thoroughly before entering the hot spring.
If you are planning to spend time relaxing in an onsen to reep the never ending health benefits then you should take the time to learn about onsen ediquette.
To read about onsen no hairi kata (way of doing entering an onsen : ediquitte) please checkout our onsen no hairi kata page
Designer, photographer and Internet and digital media professional who has lived and played in Hokkaido since 2001.