Of the many places tourists can visit whilst in Japan, onsens are a popular choice. But for those who can't decide on which onsen hot spring to visit, Eat Your Kimchi recommend a dip at Japan's historical Dogo Onsen.
This week, Simon and Martina had the good fortune of visiting Ehime Prefecture's Dogo Onsen, one of the country's oldest hot springs that has a history stretching back over a 1,000 years. Anime and Studio Ghibli fans will probably be familiar with this onsen as it was the inspiration behind the onsen depicted in "Spirited Away", a film that requires no introduction because it is the "Die Hard" of anime films (according to Simon).
For onsen newbies, male and female visitors each have their own hot spring, no clothes or swimwear of any kind is allowed, and visitors are required to shower prior to entering the water. Since Martina was the only female on their trip, she had the whole onsen to herself while Simon had the good fortune of sharing an onsen with a number of fellow naked man.
Not only were the Eat Your Kimchi duo taken back with the thought of sharing the same onsen as historical people from over 1,000 years ago, the Dogo Onsen is also notable for being one of the few hot springs that allows people with tattoos. Contemporary onsens and facilities generally ban people with tattoos as they are generally associated with Yakuza gangster culture and delinquents, but since the Dogo Onsen has been around for so long, it doesn't believe in denying entrance to anybody.
Following a nice dip in the hot springs, the traditional post-onsen activity is to drink milk, something that didn't sit particularly well with Simon!
Hit the audio tab above ^ to listen to Simon & Martina's thoughts on Japan's oldest onsen at the 15:15 mark.
Or listen right here at the 15:15 mark:
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