Last month, we mentioned that going to a hot spring, or onsen in Japanese, is a great way to warm up in the winter. This month, after an introduction to some of the history of Yamaguchi’s famous Yuda onsen, and some tips on onsen manners, you’ll be using hot springs like a pro.
Over 800 years ago, a hot spring was discovered in this area thanks to a white fox. A priest at a nearby temple saw the white fox bathing its wounds in the water every day, and wondering why this was, touched the water and discovered that it was warm. To his surprise, a golden statue of the Buddha then appeared before him. Ever since then, it has been known as the White Fox Hot Springs, where people could come pray to be healed and bathe in the hot springs. This story came to be associated with Yudaonsen, and if you pay attention, you’ll see images of white foxes all over the area.
Here are a few tips for an enjoyable onsen experience :
1.Take your shoes off at the entrance
2.Wash yourself before you get in, making sure to rinse off all soap
3.Keep your towel and hair out of the water
4.It`s a good idea to take off jewelry. Silver tarnishes especially easily
5.Don`t jump into or swim around in the water
6.Dry yourself off before entering the sauna or returning to the dressing room
7.You might find a vending machine for milk once you leave. Apparently milk is especially tasty after a dip in the hot springs.
If you don’t have time for the full onsen experience, you can always stop by a footbath or ashiyu. Ashiyu are like onsen for just your feet, where you can stop, relax, and warm up. There are six free ones around Yuda, and all you need to do is take of your shoes and socks and enjoy. Don`t forget to bring a small towel so you can dry your feet off afterward!