A Land With One of the Largest Numbers of Hot Springs and Best Spring Qualities. Enjoy Hot Spring Hopping in Hokkaido.
With 7% of the world’s volcanoes located in Japan, the country is also known as the Volcano Islands. Materials from inside of the Earth can easily seep out, and it is said that Japan has the largest number of hot springs in the world. Japanese onsen have been protected by people of power since ancient times, and were opened to the public in the Edo period. During this time, roads were created on a countrywide scale for transportation purposes of rulers of the country and feudal lords. Along with these roads, many accommodation facilities established onsen hot springs as well. The hot springs started to take on the role of recreational facilities in addition to being resting spots. This style of accommodation became the base of the Japanese-style ryokans that can still be found in various places around Japan.
For the Japanese, onsen facilities have been recreational spots not only for resting but also for refreshment. There are numerous unspoken rules when bathing in public baths like onsen hot springs in Japan. Generally, you will bathe naked without a swimsuit on. This is in order to keep the hot water clean. For the same reason, you should also wash and pour hot water over your body before entering the bath, and put up your hair if you have long hair. These are manners to keep the water clean for everyone using the bath and for nobody to feel uncomfortable. This way of thinking shows a side of the Japanese moral culture.
Incidentally, in Japan, there are conditions regulated by law that hot springs must meet to be called “onsen.” The water temperature must be higher than 25 degrees Celsius, or if the temperature is below 25 degrees Celsius, the hot spring must contain a certain level of designated minerals. It is thought that the effect of onsen hot springs on the human body differs depending on the state of these minerals and ions. Signs are displayed at onsen areas indicating what the hot spring contents are and what kind of effect can be expected. Some examples are functional recovery of the liver, fatigue recovery, and good effects for female disorders.
Now we’ll introduce some onsen hot springs in Hokkaido that have high-quality springs. Hokkaido boasts the largest number of onsens in Japan, at 251. The popular tourist destination also has the country’s second largest hot spring yield, as well as rich nature and various delicious local ingredients that can be enjoyed along with the onsen. Noboribetsu Onsen is one of the most popular hot springs in Japan for its many different types of hot springs and abundant supply of hot water. “Dai-Ichi Takimotokan,” located in Noboribetsu Onsen, has 35 baths of five different spring qualities on its huge grounds. If you are looking to enjoy outdoor activities such as skiing, we recommend the “Niseko Grand Hotel” of Niseko Onsen, where you will find high-quality powder snow. “Suttsu Onsen Yubetsunoyu” has a reputation for being good for the skin. It might also be fun to onsen-hop around the various hot springs. We hope you find an onsen resort of your liking and enjoy being healed by Earth.