Friday, January 25, 2013

Only in Japan: Onsen

I can't believe we've lived in Japan for almost 2 year (the time has flown) and we haven't written even once about onsens!

Onsens are the places to be in Japan. Whole vacations are planned around the best ones. No place inspires as much terror for a first-timer, yet once you've been, it is one of the greatest parts about living here.

The onsen is a public bath, divided men and women (usually, I've heard scary stories from missionaries who've been here longer than I). Think large naked spa, more than high school locker room.

I don't have any pictures of the actual onsen we go to (for obvious reasons) . It's pretty much like this, but with ya know... people)

Once you get over the whole "I'm naked and people can see me!" thing, it's a nice time of relaxation.

Here's a better picture. I think we're getting closer. 

Since Japan was formed by lots of volcanic activity, there are a lot of natural hot springs. You can take trips to towns that have sprung up around the springs (bu-da dum). There are also basic onsen in each little community.
Here we go! Nicer than the one we went to, but a good image of onsens in Japan.
( click the image link to read the wiki article, if you're interested)

Stephen and I took Jillian to our neighborhood onsen this weekend. We didn't stay long since wrangling a slippery baby kind of cuts into the relaxation element for me. I think Stephen had a nice time on his side of the wall though.

Outside the baths, we were able to snap a pic of our little bathing beauty, squeaky clean and warm in her jammies. 
Jillian loved the baths, even if her rubber duckies had to stay home. Though, I do think I have to work on keeping her from trying to swim in the tubs. I feel like it will be frowned upon when she's older. And incase you were worried (cuz it's always on the forefront of my mind when I take Jill to the public bath), there were no accidents to be had. All potential debris was left safely in her diaper before we got there. :P

Would you ever go or have you ever gone to an onsen? Any funny stories to share? Leave me a comment.

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