We’ve just ended a beautiful day in Matsue with another Onsen (natural hot spring) at our hotel. Because of the position of Matsue on the Lake, this is our view every evening.
While in Matsue we have visited Matsue Castle, Meimei-an Tea House and also noticed they don’t just cut trees down here when they become unstable, instead they prop them up with planks (sometimes a lot of planks).
Tomorrow we’ll continue onto Osaka by Shinkansen, but since arriving in Japan just over a week ago, we’ve quickly become comfortable with the idea of Onsen, and take most opportunities to soak in the steaming baths. So far we’ve visited just two, Ooedo Onsen, Tokyo (pictured below) and the one at our hotel in Matsue, but already we’re starting to understand the benefits past physical relaxation.
While slightly embarrassed to drop our Yukata at first, after our first Onsen experience was complete, we felt entirely at ease. It made us realise how similar people really are. Obviously everyone has their differences, but for the most part, the human body seems largely unchanged between people and races. The nakedness felt okay, even safe.
Emily and I have been discussing the effects of this ritual and we agree it gives us a sense of grounding. We feel more confident, and less self-conconsious. It seems a good way to develop confidence if your own skin. There’s no hiding behind clothes and make-up here. Even walking down the street afterward I feel more grounded and connected to the people around me, like I realise we’re all simply people. I’m undecided whether this is enlightening or depressing… maybe both. It’s grounding, but kinda also makes me feel like this is all we are and this is all we will ever be, no matter what we wear, how we act or what we call ourselves. Haha nevertheless, Onsen is awesome and you should try it!
See also First Time Japan Essential Experiences.