ONSEN EXPERIENCE for a De-STRESSING GETAWAY
Nasushiobara is a haven for onsen ryokans (traditional Japanese hotspring inn ). It is a mountainous region in the countryside of Tochigi being next to the famous tourist spot Nikko City. Most people who dwell in the urban areas of Japan would visit Nasushiobara for a quick getaway and enjoy the warm baths of a traditional onsen ryokan. Since autumn is coming to an end, my family decided to have an onsen experience to combat the coldness of the coming winter.
We pick out OOIDEKAN ONSEN in Nasushiobara out of curiosity. The establishment was featured on Japanese TV for its rich sulfuric hot spring, turning metals like water faucets into black. It has an authentic Japanese ryokan appeal and it attracts all kinds of travelers. The location is somewhat remote, being the highest of all the onsen ryokan operating in the area. But the views are perfect and worth visiting.
SHIOBARA MOTOYU ONSEN OOIDEKAN
OOIDEKAN ONSEN is set in the mountains of Nikko National Park. The mountains are frosted with snow at that time and it was just a perfect day to take a dip in the warm bath.
We decided to take the higaire course (one day) only from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm without meals as we have the option to bring our own food. We also brought our own personal towels for safety purposes. The course costs Y3,700 for room and onsen rent (2 adults and 3 children). Our room is a standard tatami with mountain views and comes with a heater and air conditioner. There’s also a TV, a low table with floor seats (zabuton), and complimentary hot green tea. Toilet and bath are communal and just a few steps away.
PUBLIC BATH AND ONSEN EXPERIENCE
Public baths are separated (men and women). I took a bath with my daughters in the ofuro (bath)together with some women. It is recommended to bring your own shampoo and body soap although they provide a liquid soap for free. We stripped off as underwear or bathing suits are not allowed because it contaminates the water. We washed our bodies first with fresh water before immersing ourselves in the hot bath. While soaking in, it was relaxing although the water smells like rotten eggs but it has amazing benefits to the skin and body.
After a few minutes of soaking, we went outside via a sliding door that leads to the outdoor (open-air) hot spring. It has panoramic views of the mountains and skies. The scenery is really perfect and that was what I’m anticipating. Hotspring with views of nature! I cherish the experience and really feel the present moment.
After that, we went back to the ofuro to wash our bodies again and get dressed. We went back to our rooms hungry and feeling sleepy. The hot bath is working indeed, and while waiting for our check-out time, we watched some TV and ate our lunch.
We checked out and headed home smelling like rotten eggs! But the experience gives us lasting memories.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF ONSEN
Bathing culture is a centuries-old tradition in Japan. The warm waters with minerals (officially about 38C) offer a promise of good health. It is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and improve complexion. Health experts outlined the effects of heat on the body. It increases the production of hormones and stimulates the immune system. Thus many wellness enthusiasts are also taking interest in experiencing sulfuric hot baths.
Shiobara Motoyu Onsen Oidekan (3-star hotel)
102 Yumotoshiobara, Nasushiobara, Tochigi 329-2922