About hot springs | Detailed explanation of the history and overview of hot springs

🕓 2024/1/13

Detailed explanation of the history and outline of hot spring

 DALL·E 2024-02-11 19.02.23 - A picturesque scene of a Japanese hot spring town, with steam rising from various locations throughout the town, creating a mystical and inviting atmo


 Table of Contents

  1. What are Japanese Hot Springs?
  2. The History of Hot Springs
  3. Introduction to Types of Hot Springs
  4. Hot Spring Facilities
  5. Famous Hot Springs in Japan
  6. Conclusion


Hot springs symbolize the beauty of Japanese culture and nature. This gift from nature has continued to provide healing to our minds and bodies since ancient times. Hot springs are not just warm water. They are a blessing from the interior of the Earth, often containing various minerals. These components have been scientifically proven to offer significant health benefits.

However, the allure of hot springs is not solely in their health benefits. Visiting hot springs offers a valuable opportunity to experience Japan's nature and immerse in its history and culture. Hot spring areas reflect the unique climate and culture of their regions, providing new discoveries with each visit.

This article starts with the basic definition of hot springs, delving into their history, types, and famous hot spring destinations in Japan. Whether you are new to hot springs or already a hot spring enthusiast, you are about to embark on a journey of new discoveries and rediscoveries. Let's explore the profound allure of hot springs together.


1. What Are Hot Springs?

Hot springs are natural phenomena where geothermally heated water emerges from the Earth's interior, often containing unique minerals beneficial for health and beauty. Under Japanese hot spring law, water is defined as a hot spring if it is above 25 degrees Celsius or contains specific components, with various effects expected from its composition.

DALL·E 2024-02-11 18.49.03 - A peaceful outdoor setting of a sulfur hot spring, with the distinct aroma of sulfur in the air. The spring is set in a beautiful natural environment,

The places where hot spring water surfaces hold special value as natural scenic beauties. These locations often develop into hot spring towns or resorts, becoming centers of hot spring culture. Hot spring areas offer relaxation and healing to visitors while being closely related to the region's unique natural environment, landscape, and history. Hot spring culture provides relaxation and healing, deeply rooted in the region's landscape and traditions.

DALL·E 2024-02-11 18.48.25 - A bustling Japanese hot spring town at night, vividly illuminated by traditional lanterns and neon signs. The streets are filled with people moving be





2. The History of Hot Springs in Japan

The history of hot springs in Japan is long and profound. Since the Jomon period, people have utilized the blessings of hot springs, capitalizing on their benefits. Traces found at archaeological sites from this era indicate that ancient people incorporated natural hot springs into their lives. Descriptions of hot springs also appear in historical records such as the "Kojiki" and "Nihon Shoki," showing that hot springs have been closely related to the lives and culture of Japanese people since ancient times.

DALL·E 2024-02-11 18.48.29 - A historical depiction of early hot spring usage in Japan, focusing on the ancient practices associated with thermal waters. The image portrays a sere

Traditionally, hot springs have served more than just as rest stops. They have been used for treating diseases and injuries, and for refreshing the mind and body, attributed with various benefits. Ancient people respected the natural power of hot springs and utilized them for health maintenance and treatment.

Hot spring culture has evolved over time, leading to the formation of hot spring areas. These areas functioned not only as places for treatment but also as social spaces and relaxation. For example, during the Edo period, hot spring areas began attracting travelers as tourist destinations, and many literary figures wrote about their hot spring travels. These records convey people's thoughts on hot springs and the richness of Japanese hot spring culture.

DALL·E 2024-02-11 18.48.33 - An illustrative scene of an Edo-period hot spring town, with a focus on the literary and artistic activities that flourished there. The image portrays

Even today, hot springs are an indispensable part of Japanese life.





3. Introduction to Types of Hot Springs

The types of hot springs vary based on their mineral content, which determines their benefits, giving each hot spring unique characteristics. Below are details on typical types of hot springs and their benefits.

Simple Spring

DALL·E 2024-02-11 18.48.53 - An intimate scene inside a traditional Japanese indoor hot spring (onsen). The setting features wooden architecture with a high ceiling, creating a wa
Characteristics: Contains few specific components, with little stimulation, suitable for a wide range of skin diseases, cuts, and fatigue recovery.
Benefits: Regulates autonomic nerves, relieves stress, and promotes health.

Chloride Spring

DALL·E 2024-02-11 18.48.42 - A tranquil scene of a simple hot spring, known for its minimalistic composition and gentle healing properties. The setting is serene, with the clear,
Characteristics: Contains a high amount of sodium chloride (salt), with high heat retention, keeping the body warm for a long time.
Benefits: Good for poor circulation, chronic skin diseases, and muscle pain relief.

Carbonate Spring

DALL·E 2024-02-11 18.48.57 - A serene and therapeutic scene of a carbonated hot spring bath, showcasing the gentle fizzing of carbon dioxide bubbles on the surface of the water an
Characteristics: Contains a lot of carbon dioxide gas, with fine bubbles sticking to the skin when bathing.
Benefits: Promotes blood circulation, improves high blood pressure, and aids in fatigue recovery.

Sulfur Spring

DALL·E 2024-02-11 18.49.09 - A revitalizing scene of an iron-rich hot spring, where the water displays a distinctive reddish-brown color due to the oxidation of iron. The setting
Characteristics: Contains sulfur with a unique smell, directly affecting the skin with antibacterial effects.
Benefits: Improves skin diseases, rheumatism, and neuralgia.

Iron SpringDALL·E 2024-02-11 18.49.03 - A peaceful outdoor setting of a sulfur hot spring, with the distinct aroma of sulfur in the air. The spring is set in a beautiful natural environment,
Characteristics: Contains a lot of iron, which may oxidize and turn the water reddish-brown.
Benefits: Effective for improving anemia.

These hot spring types have different effects based on the kinds and amounts of components they contain. When choosing a hot spring, it's important to select the type that matches your health condition and desired effects. There are many more types of hot springs, each with its own charm and benefits, allowing you to experience their rich blessings through various experiences.




4. Introduction to Hot Spring Facilities

To enjoy hot springs, various facilities and items exist, enriching the hot spring experience. Below are detailed explanations of the main facilities and items that enhance the hot spring experience.

【 Facilities 】

Open-Air Bath

DALL·E 2024-02-11 18.49.15 - A serene and picturesque scene of an open-air bath (rotenburo), set against a breathtaking backdrop of nature. The bath is situated outdoors, allowing
The open-air bath is an outdoor hot spring bath, offering the greatest charm of bathing while enjoying natural scenery. You can enjoy hot springs amidst various natural beauties, such as mountains, seas, and rivers.

Indoor Bath

DALL·E 2024-02-11 18.49.20 - A cozy and intimate scene of an indoor bath (uchiburo) located within a building, offering a private and sheltered space for bathing. The bath is desi
The indoor bath is a hot spring bath located inside a building, offering privacy and the ability to enjoy bathing regardless of the weather. Family baths or private baths are also available.

Foot Bath

DALL·E 2024-02-11 18.49.24 - A relaxing and inviting scene of a foot bath (ashiyu) facility, easily accessible during a stroll through a hot spring town. The foot bath is set outd
The foot bath is a facility that allows easy enjoyment of hot spring benefits, ideal for stopping by during a stroll in a hot spring area. It warms the body from the feet up, expecting relaxation effects.


DALL·E 2024-02-11 18.49.30 - A revitalizing scene of a sauna facility, where visitors experience the cycle of warming their bodies in a high-temperature room and then cooling down
A facility where you heat your body in a high-temperature room, then cool down with a cold water bath or air bath, promoting health and relaxation effects.

【 Hot Spring Items 】

Bathing Bucket and Stool

DALL·E 2024-02-11 18.58.41 - A traditional scene at a hot spring facility, showing the use of wooden buckets (yuboko) and ladles (yuoke) for washing and rinsing the body before en
In hot springs, bathing buckets and stools are used for washing the body or wetting oneself before entering the bath. This helps maintain bathing manners as part of hot spring culture.

Bath Towel and Face Towel

DALL·E 2024-02-11 18.53.17 - An elegant display of bath towels and face towels at a hot spring spa, emphasizing the luxurious and comforting aspect of the onsen experience. The to
Hot spring facilities may provide bath towels and face towels, but bringing your own can ensure personal hygiene. Especially in open-air baths, they are useful for drying off while enjoying the scenery.


DALL·E 2024-02-11 18.55.24 - A peaceful and traditional scene at a hot spring facility, featuring guests wearing yukata, a casual summer kimono. The setting is a tranquil onsen to
Often provided when staying at a hot spring inn, worn while strolling through the hot spring town. It's a garment that allows you to enjoy hot spring culture in a relaxed state.

Wooden Clogs

DALL·E 2024-02-11 18.59.49 - A charming scene at a hot spring town, depicting traditional Japanese geta (wooden sandals) lined up at the entrance of an onsen or a ryokan. The geta
Traditional footwear often worn with yukata, used for walking in hot spring towns, offering comfort for your feet.
Utilizing these facilities and items can make the hot spring experience more comfortable and fulfilling.




5. Famous Hot Springs in Japan

Kusatsu Onsen

名称未設定のデザイン (5)
Characteristics: Located in Gunma Prefecture, known as one of Japan's three famous hot springs. The central area has a hot spring source called "Yubatake," famous for its abundant hot water quantity and quality.
Benefits: The water of Kusatsu Onsen, with its high acidity, is said to be effective for skin diseases, neuralgia, and muscle pain.

Gero Onsen

Characteristics: Located in Gifu Prefecture, counted as one of Japan's three famous hot springs. The hot spring town, surrounded by beautiful nature, has many historic inns, preserving a rich hot spring culture.
Benefits: The water of Gero Onsen is alkaline, known for its skin-friendly beauty bath. It is also said to be good for neuralgia, joint pain, and fatigue recovery.

Dogo Onsen

名称未設定のデザイン (4)
Characteristics: Located in Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture, known as Japan's oldest hot spring with a history. Dogo Onsen Honkan is designated as a national important cultural property, and its architectural beauty is one of its major attractions.
Benefits: The water of Dogo Onsen is said to be effective for neuralgia, rheumatism, and fatigue recovery.

These hot spring areas charm visitors with their unique culture, history, and beneficial hot spring water. Strolling through the hot spring towns, experiencing the local food culture, and relaxing in the rich nature are unique experiences offered by these hot spring areas.。




6. Conclusion

A journey to hot springs offers more than just soaking in warm water. It's a valuable opportunity to touch Japan's rich nature, long history, and unique culture. By exploring hot spring areas, tasting local cuisine, and enjoying the benefits of hot springs, visitors can refresh both mind and body, spending tranquil time away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Visiting hot springs scattered across Japan allows you to encounter the unique nature, culture, and history of each region. Through the unique stories of each hot spring, you can rediscover the diversity and richness of Japan. A hot spring trip is not just a vacation but a journey of self-discovery and cultural exploration. Through the journey of hot springs, open your heart, enjoy new discoveries, and immerse yourself in the deep charm of hot spring culture.