Friday, 29 October 2010

Day 10 In Japan : Time To Get Naked!

The highlight of staying in a Japanese Inn is of course for us to have a dip (or a dozen dips) in their onsen or hot spring. Unlike the onsens in Nyuto Onsenkyo which we visited last year, there is no mixed gender baths or private baths here in Uematsuya. Not that we minded, though.

It is said that Bessho onsen is called "Bijin no yu," or hot spring of beauty. It is very good for skin and makes it very smooth. It also heals cuts, abrasions, bruises and neuralgia. You can also drink onsen water, which is said to alleviate a sick feeling. There were scoops in this onsen and elsewhere outside, around Bessho Onsen for you to enjoy the water.
The entrance to the bath area at Uematsuya. We get to try both areas, as the baths will be rotated at 11.00pm daily. Don't confuse and enter the wrong bath!
Indoor bath at both area. Handrails are installed for ease of use for those not so mobile i.e. elderly guests. Before you enter the baths, remember to clean yourself first. Just sit at one of the stools and shower away. Ample toiletries for your use are available.
The open air onsens. It was nice to enjoy the the night view while having a soak. During daytime, you get a sweeping view of the area.
At one of the area, at the open-air bath, there is a tub bath (taru-buro) for guests' use too.
Fit for just one person, this type of bath is rare in Japan. Amongst all other baths at Uematsuya, this one is the least hot of the bunch. So, if you have the chance to visit, maybe try a dip in this bath first before trying a hotter one later.

When I got in this bath, it was drizzling outside so it was really nice to sit in the tub, with my chin propped by tub feeling the rain water dripping beside me. I can only imagine how nice it would be if I come to this are when there are snow around. Must've been quite magical.

There is one beauty of a gender segregated baths as opposed to mixed baths - I managed to have my "me" time without the chatter of my son. Love him I do, but sometimes it's nice to spend sometime alone.

We enjoyed our dips in the onsen so much that we woke up at 4.30am and head to the baths!
And oh! For those not familiar with the etiquette of entering an onsen - one of the requirement is that you have to be completely naked when entering the bath. The only thing you are allowed to bring together to the bath area is this small towel, which is used as a wash cloth. This small towel is not to be immersed or dipped in the onsen water and bathers usually place it by the side of the onsen or on top of their head when they enter the onsen. Coming out from the onsen, you use the towel to wipe yourself before going back in to the changing area where you can use the normal "big" towel.

Well, my explanation might not be all that correct, so for better insights on the intricacies of enjoying an onsen, google them up. I'm too lazy to put any link up. XD

p.s. When I was holding that small towel in the last photo, I had nothing on except the towel in my hand left hand and my camera in my right hand. *^-^*!

27 comments:

  1. i'd love to experience hot springs in Japan. the area looks clean and inviting.

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  2. It was quite a culture shock when I first had my onsen experience, but now I love it! =)

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  3. @LR,
    Definitely clean. And of course, we as bathers are expected to keep the place (and our body) clean too, when using the facility.

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  4. @Cindy,
    For us, we were mentally prepared when we got in the onsen for the first time. XD

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  5. Ooh!! Lina is naked behind the camera! LOL!

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  6. What happens when you enter the wrong bath?

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  7. Are you alone at that time? Can't see anyone? So camera is allowed? What if you take pictures of people having their bath?

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  8. So it's open air? That's nice! Would love to feel the rain dropping down! Or snow? Gosh! That would be too cold!

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  9. You brought the camera into the bath! I was hoping to see you frolicking naked in the hot spring. hehehe.....

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  10. @foong,
    I hope there's no refelction of naked me in the glass door that I failed to notice! LOL

    I was alone when I took the camera along. Who else would be crazy enough to wake up at 4.30am just to go dip in the bath? XD

    It would be a nice contrast between the cold and the warm when you enter an onsen during winter. I'm planning to do it one day!

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  11. @ECL,
    I was worried though about my camera being affected by the steam in the indoor bath.

    Well, frolicked I did but not in front of the camera. LOL

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  12. *Eeeeeeek*
    lina become 18sx owh. Suddenly the title got "naked" thingy. Hehehehehe.... You must feel like a Japanese when entering this steam bath kan?

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  13. Major improvement now they using English words!

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  14. @bel,
    Correction: hot spring not steam bath. ;)

    Anyway, no need to be in an onsen to feel Japanese though. We were surrounded by all things Japanese in Japan!

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  15. @VanillaSeven,
    they do have English speaking staff too. But weirdly for me, having the convenience of English language guides, instructions and staff around were not quite fun for me! I rather like being thrown in to deep sea and having to communicate in Japanese (although my Japanese is quite deplorable) LOL

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  16. I don't think I dare step into a public bath. No way...too uncomfortable for me. I prefer privacy.

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  17. @Mei Teng,
    Some inns do have private baths for guests to enjoy.:)

    The few that we entered, there weren't many fellow bathers around, and when there were; the other bathers were respectful towards each other. Everybody enjoyed the baths without disturbing each other.

    Try once, maybe you'll be enjoy going to one! Who knows? :p

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  18. That seems like it would be so refreshing and theraputic. I'd do the same and enter in the middle of the night when no one else was there :)

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  19. Hot spring?
    Waaaaa. I wish I can go to this kind of hot spring. No need to bath in public if you want to try bathing in hot spring.

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  20. @Poetic Shutterbug,
    It will definitely be nice to have the place to yourself, if you go late at night, especially for us "self-concious" foreigners. :)

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  21. How about doing it next year? Haha!

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  22. Sounds like a good time to enjoy the hot spring on your own...i dont think I dare go there where there are many people hehehe im so body conscious :D but its a great experience isnt it!

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  23. @foong,
    Well, our plan next year is a visit in Dec.... dunno if it's a bit early for a blanket of snow view though. :D

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  24. @cutenadcurls,
    You might feel a bit self-concious at first but after seeing that nobody cares a hoot about each other's naked bodies, you might be more comfortable about it. XD

    Of course, it is easier for us since we look Asian. I guess people would be interested in you if you look different from them.

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  25. How much is it cost to enter this place Lina?

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  26. @zezebel,
    didn't check how much it cost for day trippers going in to the onsen but we paid around 30,000yen for a night's stay that include both breakfast, dinner and of course unlimited entry to the onsens. :)

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  27. OH LINA I AM SURELY MISSING THE HOT SPRINGS!

    lol, nothing but a camera on hand? hehehe

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