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Experience the good old days at the hot spring resort area

A closer look: Hot springs and "ryokan" inns

Japan In-depth

Take a trip back in time, walk through nostalgic environs

Photo_温泉街界隈 Areas where hot springs come bubbling forth are home to numerous ryokan inns. In these areas, places for visitors to enjoy have sprung up naturally. They are called hot spring resort areas. There are places to eat and drink, souvenir shops, and shops where you can play games. The scenery at these hot spring resort areas evokes a sense of nostalgia for Japanese people. Old cultural artifacts that have lost their part in society along with the changing times, a simple warmness, and interaction with people... these areas are brimming with the ambiance of an era that existed before Japan experienced a high level of economic growth. And a hot spring trip can take you on a trip through time back into that world.

Strolling around with no particular destination in mind is a perfect way to enjoy a hot spring resort area. And the attire is generally a combination that should be called Japanese resort wear: a yukata robe and geta, a unique Japanese style of footwear. The yukata robe has been used extensively since the mid-16th century as apparel that absorbs away moisture after getting out of a bath. It is similar to the bathrobe you might see at a hotel, but you can wear it outside in place of normal clothes as long as you are in a hot spring area. Especially in the summertime, there is nothing more exquisite than the feel of the breeze as it caresses the skin. And the clacking sound of the geta footwear with each step also plays a part in giving you that true hot spring experience.

Local items, gourmet food, and fun that pique the curiosity

Photo_射的風景 In most hot spring resort areas, you will often see a great deal of fun shops. There will generally be souvenir shops with special local items and goods only obtainable in that region as well as places to eat and drink where you can taste foods made from famous local ingredients, and maybe even places where you can try your hand at games from days of old like shooting galleries and raffles. Extremely popular hot spring areas are brimming with a vitality reminiscent of a festival or fair, and it is fun just watching people come and go. Some hot spring areas even have hands-on events where you can discover the charm of the region, so you might want to join in the fun.
Hot spring eggs boiled in hot spring water and hot spring manju (steamed sweet bean jam buns) are popular gourmet items at hot spring areas, so we recommend them.

Try the fun public bath area

Photo_公衆浴場 All hot spring areas have public baths that the local people use (hot spring facilities that you can use without staying overnight), and if you enjoy hot springs you should definitely visit one. You will experience the world of Japanese hot springs on a whole new level. Interacting with local people while bathing in the bath will enrich your trip and give you cherished memories to take back with you. Some hot spring areas will feature places where you can get a free gift if you visit several public baths.
No matter how wonderful a ryokan experience is, it would be a shame for your trip to end without exploring outside the ryokan bounds. The surrounding hot spring resort area also features cultural experiences that Japanese people have treasured and cherished over the ages.