Skiing and Hot Springs. The perfect Day
Having lived in Japan for 12 years, there is much I still miss about it. Not the least of which being the Hot Springs, or "Onsen".
There are literally thousands of Onsen in Japan, which are places where geothermally heated water emerges from the ground at a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius or more. If a bath is supplied by mechanically heated water then it is referred to as "Sento", as opposed to Onsen
The Japanese visit Onsen not only as a social habit, but because dissolved minerals in the water impart medical benefits, assuaging everything from rheumatism to high blood pressure. Principally, though, they offer relaxation after a long day of business or sightseeing, and are an antidote to stress. Sit up to your neck in soothing warm water and meditate on a distant view of snow-capped mountains or autumn trees, and you might appreciate why the Japanese are onsen fanatics.
It is in the winter that I miss it the most. There are very few experiences that can hold a candle to immersing yourself neck deep into a hot natural mineral bath after spending the whole day skiing world class powder.
I had the incredible fortune of living in one of the most beautiful areas of Northern Japan, in Aomori prefecture. It was near Mt Hakkoda, where Onsen abound.
The most famous of which is Sukayu Onsen
Getting there wasn't always easy, as it has some of the highest snowfalls in the world.
Once there, a single gondola takes you to the top of the mountain, where you can ski untouched powder all day long.
Mt Hakkoda is recognized by many powder enthusiasts to be among the best powder skiing anywhere in the world
From the top of Mt. Hakkoda, you can ski right to Sukayu Onsen's doors
Before and/or after a tall Sapporro beer and hot food....your bath awaits!
There are actually several places in Japan to combine skiing with Onsen. Many ski resorts have Onsen attached to them. Another great place is Tazawako ski resort, which has an incredible view, decent skiing, and a good onsen. It is also much easier to get to.
But, for me, there is no place that sizes up to Mt. Hakkoda and Skayu. It's worth the effort to get there if you ever visit Japan.
Until then, keep an eye open for our newest all natural Bath Tea, "Onsen Matcha and Cedar". Kind of a portable Onsen, if you will. It's as close as you're going to get without the plane ride.
Or, check out all of our Bath Teas at Sandcreekrestoratives.com