Hanging Out with Naked Folks All Weekend

Illustration for article titled Hanging Out with Naked Folks All Weekend
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One of the most popular things to do on vacation in Japan is head to an onsen or "hot springs". They're dotted all over the country, and people—both young and old—enjoy visiting onsen towns, where they eat delicious food and bathe.

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When taking a bath in Japan, you wash first and then enter the water to help keep it clean. Unless you are in a private bath, you usually bathe with total strangers. The baths are usually divided between men and women, but little kids can go in with either parent.

Parents go with kids. Friends go together. Grandparents go with their grandkids. I could never imagine taking a bath with, say, my grandparents in the U.S., but it doesn't seem odd here in the least.

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The hot springs are relaxing—just as a long, hot bath should be. But, depending on the spring, the water has different prosperities. Some springs bring good luck or long life.

I quite like going to hot springs—they're extremely relaxing. In the past decade or so, I've noticed that they become more and more accommodating to foreigners who do not speak or read Japanese, which makes them a primo destination if you are visiting Japan.

Hot spring town often look picturesque-with little inns, and people scurrying from hot spring to hot spring in yukata and geta.

And the food? More often than not, delicious.

Postcard is a regular peek behind the Kotaku East curtain, whether that be game-related or, most likely, not.

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DISCUSSION

In all honesty, the onsen are one of the VERY few reasons I would actually want to live in Japan. The arcades are definitely number one, but onsen are a close second. But I've always been under the impression that they're some of the most xenophobic establishments in the country, even for "foreigners" who live there and are fluent in Japanese language and culture....