Onsen Images { 15 images } Created 18 Dec 2008

Vapour wafts around you as you carefully rinse with the cedar bucket before your bath. Silently, you slowly ease yourself into the hot mineral water. A Japanese garden has been artfully arranged around the edge of the bath for admiring while you soak. You are at a Japanese hot spring, or onsen as they are known in Japan. Rubbery and relaxed from your dip, you get back into your robe and return to your tatami room for dinner. There on your table is a dazzling array of dishes, laid out for your arrival. A tiny dish of pickles, a delicate basket of tempura, shellfish arranged on rectangular plates. The dishes are so beautifully presented that it feels almost philistine to begin eating. But you will. The onsen is one place in Japan where all kinds of people, young and old, wealthy and modest can mix without social barriers. This gives the foreign visitor an opportunity to mingle with the locals and learn something of Japan. Some foreign guests may feel intimidated by the prospect of bathing au naturel, albeit with members of the same sex. However, a tiny towel is part of the onsen kit used for modesty, scrubbing and drying yourself. There are also many hard-to-get rotemburo images, or outdoor bath photos.
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