In this article, I'd like to introduce you to hot springs in Japan. Onsen, hot spring, has a long history in Japan, with a history of over 1000 years. There are certain rules of etiquette when using Onsen, and these rules must be observed. Please be sure to know these manners before you use Onsen.
Summer is over and it's getting chilly!
This season makes me want to go to the hot springs!
Hot springs! Now that I'm in Japan, I want to go there!
I didn't know you hadn't been to a hot spring yet. Maybe we should go next weekend!
It's a strange thing to find warm water gushing out of the ground!
Right. Actually, hot springs are divided into two types of heat sources. One is called "volcanic" and the other is called "non-volcanic".
Wow, what's the difference between the two?
"Volcanic" is literally close to a volcano and contains a lot of volcanic gas, sometimes seawater and sometimes organic matter.
Non-volcanic materials are those that are deep underground and have been heated by geothermal sources. Normally, the deeper underground, the higher the temperature. In Japan, this geothermal gradient is said to be 0.03 degrees Celsius per meter, but there are some hot springs that cannot be explained by the normal geothermal gradient. There are many theories out there, but there's still no clear answer.
Hmmm. It's true that Japan has a lot of volcanoes!
Yes, there are actually more "volcanic" hot springs out there.
Have Japanese people been bathing in hot springs for a long time?
Yes, you're right. There are many myths about hot springs in various places. Most of them are about "Okuninushi-no-mikoto" and "Shaohikonomikoto", the gods of hot springs. There is also an old document about the use of hot springs in the form of a purification ceremony.
Wow, Japan is full of myths, isn't it?
From an archaeological point of view, it is said that herbivores flocked to the salty hot springs in search of salt, and humans, who hunted these animals, gathered around the hot springs, and as they did so, a culture that was familiar with the hot springs was born.
By the way, have you ever heard of "Three Famous Fountains of Japan"?
I know! You mean Arima Onsen, Kusatsu Onsen, and Gero Onsen!
Oh yeah! That's right!
You know WELL!
I did some research on hot springs before I came to Japan, and they have been called "Japan's Three Famous Springs" since the Muromachi period (1336-1573), right?
Yes, it was first mentioned in the poetry collection "Baika Mujinzou" by Manri Shukku, a poet-monk from the Kyoto Gozan Shokokuji Temple.
Do you know that there are also "three ancient springs in Japan"?
I don't know.
It's a historic hot spring that deserves to be called "The Old Spring.
There are two theories about these three hot springs.
The first theory is that these three hot springs are called "Dogo Onsen," "Arima Onsen," and "Shirahama Onsen," which came to be known as such after they appeared in the Nihon Shoki and Fudoki books.
The other three are Dogo-Onsen, Arima-Onsen and Iwaki-Yumoto-Onsen. They are described as such in the "Engi-Shiki Shinmeicho".
I see, I'd like to visit them all!
Yes, they're all great hot springs that you should visit at least once.
Also, Tina, manners are very important when you go to a hot spring.
I didn't know there are manners when we bathe!
Please observe these manners and enjoy the hot springs to your heart's content!
Onsen is meaning hot spring. Hot water heated by volcanoes and geothermal sources.
Thanks for reading this far!
Please read the rest of the post if you'd like!