Japanese hot springs are not only famous, but are a part of the Japanese intricate culture and life. Today, it is difficult to say where hot spring baths originated, but their role in the Japanese life and a positive effect both on the body and mind are incontestable. Each onsen has different chemical compositions and each claims different healing properties. Although the results are not proved scientifically, only practically, there is no doubt that onsen, as any bath, has an ability to rejuvenate both: a body and a spirit.
Buddhist priests used hot water bubbles as a part of a ceremony of publication. Hot springs have long been a meeting place for farmers, wandering travelers and fishermen to reunite and relax.
You can enjoy the magnificent Japanese nature while soaking in an outdoor hot springs bath. Hot water bubbles are usually located high up in lush, hilly green mountains, by lakes, rock-lined riverbeds or the sea; and they are as diverse as numerous. Travel magazines often contain special features on hot water bubbles and hot springs tours, run by travel agents, are popular with young people and old people.
The areas around famous water bubbles provide large resorts with numerous inns and hotels. Each resort is different and unique. Therefore, when selecting hot water bubbles, pay more attention to the scenery and landscape that are more appealing to you. For instance, Takaragawa Onsen, Japan's number one outdoor bath, is a spacious and picturesque location high up in the mountains with appealing beauty that changes along with the seasons. It is impressive with its pink cherry blossoms in spring, fluffy white snow on the mountains sides in winter, vivid green colors in summer and gold, yellow, red and orange shades of foliage in autumn.
You can also base your choice on the type of bath you want to experience. Japanese bathing is not limited to hot springs only, there are also sea baths, pounding waterfalls, hot steam baths and mud baths.
One of the areas, boasting a great number and variety of outdoor baths, is Beppu, Kyushu Island. The resort features 3, 800 old and very famous hot springs. There is also Beppu Kaihin Sunayu, a beach sand bath that buries you up to your neck, soothes stiff joints, tired muscles and frazzled nerves; Shiei-mushiyu, a steam bath, where you lie inside a cavelike chamber on racks, covered with herbs; Honbozu Jigoku, a gooey-grey mud bath, for a body, designed to give skin a new lease of life.
Kinku region has at least two hotels, Arita Kanko Hotel and Hotel Nakoshima, known for rather exotic Japanese baths. Arita Kanko Hotel has a 'floating cable-car bath' that takes bathers from the main bathing area across an islet and up the mountainside, while Hotel Nakanoshima offers split-level baths, located practically in the sea.
Riverside Amagiso Ryokan in Odaru, Tokai Region, will come to the expectations of those, who want to experience baths with waterfalls, and for those, who regard Japanese baths mostly as a source pf the health improvement; there is Hoshi in Kanto Region, the onsen is built on the riverbed, where the thermal water naturally bubbles through the pebbles.
Whether you choose natural hot water bubbles or an exotic mud bath, the result will be the same: you will get much pleasure, relaxation and a positive health impact.