Take a Dip in Japan’s Many Hot Springs

Japan is a beautiful island nation consisting of almost 7,000 islands. Rich in many natural resources, over 70% of the country is mountainous, and there are over 200 volcanoes in the Japanese jurisdiction. As a volcanically active nation, Japan has literally thousands of hot spring resorts or onsen.

11711471213_e59f3c7276_zHot springs are waters heated by geothermal energy. Japan has an abundant source of these natural wonders. There are about 2,500 hot springs all around the country with their own unique attributes that draw loyal patrons.

Nyuto onsen. | Isriya Paireepairit

Hot springs are naturally clear, hot, and rich with minerals that confer several health benefits. Also, the mineral composition of each onsen has elements that have been claimed to enhance beauty.

7253142146_a58039683e_zOne particular onsen is called Ryujin (literally, Dragon God), also known as “bijin no yu” or “the beautiful women hot spring.” For hundreds of years, people who have bathed in Ryujin claim that its waters make them more beautiful. People say its mineral content enhances beauty by moisturizing the skin, making it feel smoother.

Ryujin onsen. | cotaro70s

5387531490_19c1508378_zHot springs are especially inviting during the cold winter months. Some hot springs even have regular native residents: Japanese macaques.  The Japanese macaque is known as saru (monkey) in Japanese but to distinguish it from other primates of the world, it is called Nihonsaru (Nihon means Japan in Japanese). The Nihonsaru are Old World monkeys, a group of primates that fall under the superfamily Cercopithecoidea and are indigenous to Japan.

Japanese macaque. | Beyond Neon

Hell’s Valley (Jigokudani) is one of the places best known for its bathing monkeys. About 250 Japanese macaques bathe in the steaming waters; the hot springs even have their own live camera site. These unique monkeys have been featured on Japanese stamps and are a popular sight among visitors wanting to share a hot dip with them.

Enjoying a luxurious dip in a Japanese hot spring is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the unique beauty and culture of Japan!