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Unwind in Gunma’s Ikaho Town

Lake Okushima

Lake Okushima The view of the valley on the other side of the Shimagawa Dam Walking across the Shimagawa Dam Up in the high country of the Agatsuma District of Gunma Prefecture, at the end of the Shima Highway (四万街道) (National Highway 353), is Lake Okushima (奥四万湖), a lake formed following the construction of the Shimagawa […]

Manza Onsen

Manza Onsen Kumashiro Cave Manza Onsen Manza Onsen Kumashiro Cave Manza Onsen Gunma Prefecture is filled with onsen, but none quite like Manza Onsen. Manza is incorporated into Tsumagoi Village, but is situated high on the slopes of Mt. Kusatsu-Shirane. Getting there is a challenge, requiring a journey up twisting roads and along the volcanic […]

Netsu no Yu

The yumomi stirrers begin the demonstration The stained glass doors from inside the building Performing the hishaku (ladle) dance The yumomi stirrers begin the demonstration Right next to the yubatake in the center of Kusatsu is a building that stands out with beautiful stained glass of scenes depicting an age-old onsen practice. Yumomi, literally meaning […]

Takaragawa Onsen

Takaragawa Onsen 宝川温泉 Takaragawa Onsen The risk, or perhaps more aptly, the plunge, involved in stripping off not only your outer layers but also your inhibitions, is something that often discourages people away from the idea of a mixed-gender onsen. Amidst the stunning surroundings of overhanging trees, a bubbling river, and wooden old-style bridges at […]

Tokyo Winter Breaks: Kusatsu Onsen

Yubatake, "hot water field" There's evidently something interesting on the ceiling at Nettaikan One of the decorative lanterns you'll see around the town A hotel souvenir shop The footbath next to Yubatake Inside a public bath-house next to Yubatake Up in Gunma prefecture north-west of Tokyo, Kusatsu Onsen is a favourite winter getaway for residents […]

Tranquility in Kusatsu

Free Manju and Green Tea Otaki no Yu Bath Entrance Sai no Kawara Park Entrance Sai no Kawara Park Sai no Kawara Park Yubatake Free Manju and Green Tea (Photo: Patrick Alexander) Welcome to a village where the water steams and forms pools as it seeps from the ground around every corner. Considered among the […]

A Hidden Gem in Hiroshima

Third Waterfall Meal at the Ryokan A view from the beginning of the trail The boat ride Little falls scattered along the trail The view from the boat Third Waterfall While throngs of people made their way toward Hiroshima city and Miyajima during Golden Week, I was determined to find somewhere off the usual path, […]

A Trip to Kurahashi-jima

Akishio submarine in Kure Yamato Harbor Yamato Harbor on a rainy day ‘Yellow Submarine’ and sculptures of dogs Part of a composition of dogs’ sculptures Kure is famous for producing ships The Kure region is located to the south-east of Hiroshima and is known for ship production, which was particularly important during wartime. Since my […]

Kagura Dance Tourism in Hiroshima

Spinning quickly in unison with costumes flaring, one of the famous trademarks of Kagura Our main hero, a prince on a mission His Rival, a powerful demon. The male demons are white and the females black Night time street view in Kagura-Monzen-Toji-Mura Village Looking down the other way. The bathhouse can be seen in the distance […]

Tomo-no-ura in Fukuyama, Hiroshima

View of Benten Island from Taichiro Fukuzenji Temple The Ponyo Map Boats docked on the landing at Tomo-no-ura Bay View of Benten Island from Taichiro Fukuzenji Temple Just half an hour south of Fukuyama City is the picturesque port town of Tomo-no-ura. It was historically, a busy, prosperous area and served as a rest stop […]

Descend into Hell in Noboribetsu

Hell Valley Hell Valley Hell Valley Hell Valley Steaming Ground Stalegtities Hell Valley From Toya, I got the train to the nearby town of Noboribetsu Onsen which another area is famed for its volcanic activity. One of the main attractions is an ancient volcano that spilt open thousands of years ago to form Jidokudani or […]

Mount Esan and Todohokke

The lower slopes of Mount Esan are a botanists dream The reason for the areas great hotsprings is evidenced all around This huge Budda that wouldnt look outof place in Nara appears in the middle of nowhere View from the start of the climbing trail looking west towards Hakodate Esan is still very far from […]

A trip to Goshiki Onsen

Mount Annupuri serves as a great backdrop for the outdoor bath The onsen itself, nestled at the bottom of Mount Annupuri Volcanic springs feeding into the onsen Mount Annupuri serves as a great backdrop for the outdoor bath May 25th marked an exciting event in the Niseko summer calendar this year. It was the day […]

Hokuryu Onsen

Hokuryu Entrace Sunflower pavement Hokuryu Sunflower Park Front of the building Lobby Women's entrance Hokuryu Entrace Hokuryu is a town enamoured with sunflowers. Not only can you find sunflowers on the light poles and sidewalks, but also on telephone booths and other random areas throughout town. Even the onsen in Hokuryu is a product of […]

Ikoino Yuyado Iroha Onsen

Ikoino Yuyado Iroha Hotel with Niseko Annupuri peak in the background Exterior of the hotel Entrance to the baths Powder room area Lockers Massage chair corner Ikoino Yuyado Iroha Onsen (formerly Niseko Ikoinomura) is a quiet and relaxing onsen found in a hotel at the base of Niseko Annupuri Ski Resort. If you are staying […]

Kyogoku Fukidashi Water Park

The town is pretty proud of its water The water flows into a stunning park 80,000 tonnes a day out of here Tranquil The foot of Mount Youtei The water stays at a constant 10 degrees Celsius all year The town is pretty proud of its water Apart from snow and onsens (hot springs), another […]

Mountain Festival, Daisetsuzan

Ainu Dance Gathering to eat according to Ainu tradition Torchlight procession Ainu Dance I only knew about this festival because the owner of the mountain lodge Nutapukashipe told me about it when I made my reservation. She said we should try to arrive in the late afternoon, so that we could have an early dinner […]

Onsen at the Hilton Niseko Village

This entrance leads to total bliss Surrounded by nature as you soak Mt. Yotei hides behind clouds in the distance This entrance leads to total bliss I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’ve never visited an onsen on any of my previous visits to Japan. In my defense, two of the previous visits were in […]

Prince Hotel Hirafutei

Serene Waterfall with Buckets for Cold Water Large indoor pool with waterfall Outdoor pool overlooking the Taiga Forest Outdoor pool overlooking the Taiga Forest A steamy soak Vanity Serene Waterfall with Buckets for Cold Water We have no doubt all heard the fairytales of about the princess kissing frogs in hopes of finding her Prince […]

Summer in Niseko

Flying across the zipline in Hanazono The Niseko range from Mt. Annupuri to Mt. Iwanai Playing in the fields behind Milk Kobo Sunflowers saluting Mt. Yotei Perfect view on a Tokyu Golf Course fairway Niseko Ostrich ranch… really!!! Flying across the zipline in Hanazono (Photo: Cliff Bernstein) When all the snow and clouds clear each […]

The Onsen at The Vale Niseko

A Seat In The Lobby The Allusive Door…Where Did It Come From? The Entrance of The Vale Hotel A Seat In The Lobby After my Yukoro onsen experience left me wanting something a little more traditional and little more luxurious, I decided to splurge and soak up the Zen waters of The Vale, Niseko onsen. […]

Tokachidake and Fukiage Onsen

It’s not so unlikely to meet animals during your hike here Going farther the landscape gradually changes into just rocks a small plants Some areas looks almost Martian Sea of clouds The first part of the trail The misty atmosphere in the forest makes the experience even more amazing Furano is one the most popular […]

Wood Fired Bathhouse, Koganeyu

Koganeyu in Winter The Woodpile The Kiln The Bath Oldfashioned Washing Pails Mrs. Watanabe Koganeyu in Winter (Photo: Satomi Boasen) Wiping the sweat off my brow, I laid aside my axe and tossed the last two split logs up on the pile. What once had been an unused, empty warehouse with aged and buckling iron […]

Yuki Chichibu Onsen in Niseko

Exterior Entry into the women’s baths Shop selling local produce and souvenirs Lunch menu Resting area View from the resting area After visiting quite a few of the onsens or hot springs in the Niseko area you start to look for the ones that are a real stand out; Yuki Chichibu Onsen is definitely one […]

Yukuro Onsen

100% Natural Onsen Entrance sign reading ´´Yukoro´´ Street View of the Onsen Price List Ladies Change Room Baskets for your clothes 100% Natural Onsen After asking many of the Niseko area employees as to what natural onsen or hot spring I should try, Yukoro was hands down the number one choice. I got the feeling […]

Wellness Park Goshiki

Outside of Goshiki Onsen First view of Goshiki Onsen Sunset from Goshiki Onsen View over the lake of Goshiki Wellness Park Goshiki Onsen seen from the Wellness Park View from front of Goshiki Onsen Awaji-shima, just a stone’s throw away from Osaka, provides an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. It is […]

Kame-no-mizu Spring Water in Akashi

Kame-no-mizu The gate of Kakimoto Shrine Kame-no-mizu You know that Japan is famous for hot springs, right? But have you ever tasted water from a spring? There are a lot of famous springs you can drink from in Japan and I am going to introduce one in Akashi. It is called Kame-no-mizu (Turtle’s water). It […]

Kinosaki Hot Springs

Onsen at Kinosaki Kinosaki Hot Springs Ryokan in Kinosaki Onsen at Kinosaki The idea of ambling around in your birthday suit in front of friends might not be your cup of tea, but indulge me for a second please. It is autumn, and on a cold clear night you’re sitting in a luxuriously comfortable 40+ […]

Top 3 Onsens in Awaji-shima

Goshiki onsen The locker of shoes Matsuho onsen Matsuho onsen Yupuru onsen Yupuru Onsen People who come to Awaji-shima mostly head to Tadao Ando's Awaji Yumebutai, or Dream Stage, or just pass by heading to Naruto directly. But today I am going to show you where you can relax with my top 3 onsen on […]

Visiting Kinosaki Onsen

Excellent seafood; specially crab The representation of the undersea world of a Japanese legend Beautiful Kinosaki at night You will find stork figures everywhere The getas represent the names of the hotels in the village Pudding at Maruyamakaryo Kinosaki Onsen is known for its seven famous hot springs and for its tradition of wearing yukata […]

Goroko no Yu Hot Spring

Classic bath style in a modern building Nyo statues greet you in the foyer Bridges, stones and bamboo create a garden atmosphere In the small town of Sakai, on the eastern side of the Tone River, is a michi no eki, or road station, and a shopping complex surrounded by farms. You might not give […]

Kosoyu Bathhouse in Yamashiro Onsen

With cold winters and frigid winds that blow off the North Sea, Ishikawa Prefecture is the perfect place to indulge in a visit to a natural onsen (hot spring). Kaga City, just outside of Ishikawa’s capital of Kanazawa, is home to Yamashiro Onsen, a welcoming hot spring neighborhood with a history that dates back over […]

Noto Peninsula Discovery

At the Okutsuhime Shrine festival young local men carry the portable shrine into the ocean. Rock formations in the Nanao Bay Area Notojma Ohashi Bridge Senmaida rice paddies right by the ocean Hot spring pool overlooking the ocean at Hotel Notoraku in Wakura Onsen Resort Another hot spring pool right by the ocean at Hotel […]

The White Ring Tour & Hotel Roan

The men's outdoor onsen at the Roan offers a beautiful view of the forest Hakusan's Hime Shrine The lobby of the Roan Ryokan A room at the Roan offers soft, fluffy futons as well as a sitting room with a beautiful view The White Ring Tour Bus The main dining room of the Roan The […]

Wakura Onsen Resort

How about enjoying yourself at this foot onsen while gazing out over the ocean? All hotels in Wakura have their in-house onsen but going to the public onsen is also an option Boiling eggs at the public onsen in Wakura Hot Spring Resort How about enjoying yourself at this foot onsen while gazing out over the […]

Waon no Yu Onsen

Waon no Yu’s exterior invites in you to try its baths The free melon soda drink left in my locker The shoe locker area at the entrance Waon no Yu Onsen (和音の湯) is a traditional Japanese hot spring bathhouse in Higashi-Kanazawa that has turned the menial daily activity of bathing int a special occasion! It […]