hot springs

Hyotan Onsen – Japan’s only hot spring with three Michelin stars

Hyotan Onsen – Japan’s only hot spring with three Michelin stars

Even though the prefecture is home to barely a million residents, Oita has not one, but two famous hot spring resorts. Yufuin is generally held to be the more refined and tastefully restrained of the pair, while Beppu, despite having some of the most popular hot springs in Japan, gets saddled with the reputation as the more touristy town.

While there may be some truth to the labels, there’s one thing Beppu has that you won’t find in Yufuin, or anywhere else in the country for that matter: Japan’s only hot spring with three Michelin stars.

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Gunma Prefecture’s adorable mascot dances into our hearts and travel plans 【Video】

Gunma Prefecture’s adorable mascot dances into our hearts and travel plans 【Video】

At first glance, Gunma may not seem to have a whole lot going for it. It’s one of Japan’s few landlocked prefectures, which means less access to Japan’s legendarily fresh seafood. The lack of a coastline also means Gunma doesn’t have a vibrant urban heart like Japan’s largest cities which grew out of its busiest ports, so economic and modern entertainment opportunities are limited compared to Tokyo, Osaka, or Fukuoka.

What Gunma does have is mountains, hot springs, and shrines, though. It’s also got Gunma-chan, its lovable horse mascot who shows off the prefecture’s attractions and some adorable dance moves in this new video.

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The best of Japan’s “top 3” tourist hotspots【poll】

The best of Japan’s “top 3” tourist hotspots【poll】

Japan really loves to put its tourist spots into a top three list, such as the top three gardens or the top three hot springs. And a lot of tourists like to visit all three of the places to be able to say they’ve completed the set. But which of these famous trios do Japanese tourists want to visit the most? The website Web R25 recently surveyed 664 of their readers to ask them which of the top three lists they most want to visit. Click below to find out which trio of tourist hotspots topped the list and be sure to let us know which one you prefer in our RocketNews24 poll at the bottom!

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Traditional hot spring dance reminds us of locker room fights, 3rd degree burns

Traditional hot spring dance reminds us of locker room fights, 3rd degree burns

Kusatsu Onsen is a hot spring resort town in the mountains of Gunma Prefecture. Its spring is famous for both its prodigious daily output and its high sulfur content, which makes the entire town smell of rotten eggs but is said to cure a host of bodily ills. In fact, the locals say the hot springs in Kusatsu cure any sickness but love sickness.

Whatever its healing properties, you wouldn’t want to jump into the spring at the source, as it comes bubbling out of the ground at up to a scalding 95°C (203°F). You could add cold water, but that would dilute the beneficial mineral content, so the locals use a traditional method called yumomi, which involves splashing the water around with big tongue depressors while singing and dancing.

I love Japan.

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Five awesome hot springs in Taiwan (one of them has been on fire for 300 years!)

Five awesome hot springs in Taiwan (one of them has been on fire for 300 years!)

Japan is famous for being an onsen (hot spring) nation, so much so that a friend of mine preaches that “if you’ve never been to an onsen, then you’ve never been to Japan”. Quite the extremist, but you get the idea. Japanese hot springs come pretty close to “heaven on earth”.

But Japan’s neighboring country, Taiwan, also has some fabulous hot springs to boot! The fact that there are onsen-loving Japanese people who travel to Taiwan for a soak is sufficient to vouch for the quality of these bubbling hot baths. Here’s a list of five onsen hot spots you wouldn’t want to miss on your trip to Taiwan!

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Onsen trivia! Finding the hottest, highest, and healthiest hot springs in Japan

Onsen trivia! Finding the hottest, highest, and healthiest hot springs in Japan

Japan is practically overflowing with hot, bubbling water it seems and nearly every city and town has a local spring or public bath for people to get a nice soak. Called “onsen” in Japanese, hot spring spas or baths are one of the most enduring symbols of Japanese culture.

Today, we bring you a fact-filled list of Japanese onsen trivia! Impress your friends with your knowledge and find somewhere to go soothe your aching heart when they get mad at you for being so smart.

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See the new capybara babies at Izu Shaboten Park — and maybe even name one of them!

See the new capybara babies at Izu Shaboten Park — and maybe even name one of them!

The capybaras at the Izu Shaboten Park in Shizuoka Prefecture are somewhat of a celebrity here in Japan, and you may recall this isn’t the first time we’ve brought you a story about them. Now, we’re pleased to report that the lovable rodents have recently welcomed some adorable new additions to their family. So, here’s your chance to meet the new babies of the family, and what’s more, you may even be able to give them a name!

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Top tub tips and tattoo taboos at Japanese baths

Top tub tips and tattoo taboos at Japanese baths

There is nothing quite as relaxing as slipping into the warm water at a Japanese hot spring. But as you get ready for tub time, you should be aware of the finer points of public bathing in Japan. Besides leaving your rubber ducky at home, we have compiled a list of key bath tips to ensure the best soak of your life without having to hear someone nag about the “lack of proper bathing manners these days.”

And since one of the more frustrating points of the Japanese bathing experience is a blanket ban on tattoos, we will also provide some context on why exactly your tribal sign tramp stamp is so unwelcome.

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Onsen Ramen – Why go to the hot spring when the hot spring can come to you?

Onsen Ramen – Why go to the hot spring when the hot spring can come to you?

If there’s one thing Japan loves, it’s ramen, and if there’s a second thing, it’s hot springs (or onsen in Japanese).

We recently found a place in Tokyo’s Suginami Ward that combines both.

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Soak in A Nice Hot Spring Bath With Ted the Dirty Little Old Teddy Bear!

Soak in A Nice Hot Spring Bath With Ted the Dirty Little Old Teddy Bear!

So, have you seen the movie Ted yet? If you have, I’m sure many of you will agree that it’s an absolutely hilarious movie (probably not profound or enlightening in any way, and you may even lose a couple of brain cells watching it, but yes, definitely hilarious)! Well, it appears the antics of the cute teddy bear with a bad mouth and a dirty mind has captured the hearts of movie goers in Japan, because as of last weekend, the movie is the top box office hit in Japan. But what does a middle-aged borderline delinquent teddy bear have to do with a hot spring bath? Read More

The Top 9 Things That Surprise Foreigners the Most About Japan

The Top 9 Things That Surprise Foreigners the Most About Japan

If you have ever been outside your own country, you most likely have experienced some form of culture shock.  In fact just visiting another city or town can make you aware of how things are done differently all over.  In Japan, some things are so surprisingly different for foreigners that there is some uniformity in the shock value.  Any Japanese with their eyes and ears open can be aware of what is most shocking to many foreigners.  It is makes for fascinating conversation, “What is most surprising about Japan to foreigners?  I heard…”  This riveting subject matter prompts reflection, a moment of feeling good about one’s culture, sprinkled with the ability to and laugh at oneself.

Here is a list of 9 things foreigners experience when first visiting Japan (according to Japanese columnist Ryoko Kozakai over at Excite, at least):
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