Pilgrimage trails & naked bathsMarch 27 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C
Today we went to explore some of the pilgrimage routes scattered throughout the area. Our route started with a steep climb through some very old cedar trees (a few were 800 years old!). It was a welcomed change of pace from the busyness of Tokyo.
The top of the climb came out at the buddist temple - while we were seemingly at the top there was still plenty of more hiking and stone stairways to climb! Thanks to my expert navigation we got to climb up and back down a fun hill.. successfully wiping the group out early 😅 we pushed through and made it down to the falls - the tallest single drop waterfall in Japan!
After a full day of hiking we all had a quiet ride back home on the local train - definitely looking forward to another fantastic dinner.
Before we grabbed dinner mom and I worked up the courage to check out the traditional onsen baths at the hotel - nothing like a naked hot spring bath filled with strangers to help you relax. Nerve-wracking as it was it was a great experience and really not so bad. The baths are separated male and female. You're given a normal size and a very small towel before entering your side. In the locker room you strip - definitely no bathing suits allowed (or tattoos which are considered a sign of violence because of the stigma around tattoos and gangs). You take your tiny towel and strut into the shower area where you fully wash, hair and all, before heading into the baths - its important for overall cleanliness of the baths. Once in there there were multiple baths to choose from, some the real deal - coming from hot springs, others are more like hot tubs with salt/coals added. Some were indoor, others outside under the mountains. All were steaming hot and I could only stay in for a few minutes each. Luckily it wasn't very busy so it was pretty comfortable to walk around in the nude - overall everyone just owned it and was polite/kept to themselves. Another rule of the onsen - never let your little towel fall in the water - most people carry them around on their head. After cleaning up on the way out we could relax in the lounge area and have a cool drink - I tried the apple milk. All in all I'm very happy we tried it and wouldn't mind doing it again. Definitely worth trying if given the chance!
Now relaxed from the baths, we went on to dinner in our traditional robes. It was just as tasty as the night before with another whole set of courses! My favorite was the tempura fish and veggies, and the beef sashimi.Read more