Spahhhhh. Article about Japanese onsen

By Mark Andrews

American Way – American Airlines. May 2012

Japan’s traditional HOT SPRINGS are tonic water for the body and soul.

Snowflakes melt on my skin as I head naked toward the steaming waters of Houheikyo onsen. Within seconds, I am relaxing in the hot spring’s 102-degree water, and I quickly forget about being outside in freezing weather. Physically, I am in Shikotsu-Toya National Park in the hills above Sapporo, Japan, on the island of Hokkaido; mentally, I am in a world far, far away. This is what an outdoor onsen is all about.

Onsen are as quintessentially Japanese as sushi and ramen noodles, but unlike them can be truly appreciated only in the Land of the Rising Sun. It is a pity, then, that so few foreigners take the time to partake in this Japanese obsession, which acts as a portal to the old Japan.

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Mark Andrews has written about everything from Japanese houses to heli hikes on New Zealand glaciers, test drives of Chinese cars to bar and restaurant reviews. He currently specialises in travel articles and reviews of Chinese cars plus articles about the Chinese auto industry.

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