Today, we’re heading to Onsen paradise – GUNMA.
Honestly, I’m not too keen to be naked in front of strangers in a natural hot spring, but Gunma is famous for that, so might as well try it, right? Right!
I woke up extra early and found Naomi and Satoshi in the kitchen preparing some oniguri for our roadtrip. I really wish to recreate this dish at home. It’s so simple and yummy to eat, everything in one bite! It’s also good to bring on the road as you don’t need utensils to consume it.
We passed nearby towns before arriving in Gunma. We also have Toto, their cutie pie doggy, with us.
Huwow, what’s that smell???
There’s this strong odor permeating in the air when we arrived in Kusatsu in Gunma. They told me, it’s from the sulfur rising out of the hot spring water. At the middle of this town is the Yubatake or the hot water field, which is the symbol of Kusatsu.
I actually thought that this is where we are suppose to take a dip, in the middle of the crowd, at the town center! haha
We wandered around town – ate chicken yakitori & matcha ice cream, and of course did a little bit of shopping. Eversince my shopping escapade at the DIY warehouse with Naomi and Satoshi, they have been very supportive of my interests, haha. Like, they know i have this thing for miniature stuff, that i collect blue and white ceramics and products with interesting packaging. So they are always on the lookout for that.
On the way up, we saw a Buddhist temple where I got my fortune, written on a strip of paper.
There is still leftover snow on this part of town.
I’ve seen a lot of this buddhist statues with red knitted caps that got me curious. According to Japanese folk beliefs, the color red is believed to expel demons and illnesses. Nowadays, it’s like gifts of rejoicing parents whose child has been cured of dangerous sickness, or a gift to help the deceased child in the afterlife. (Aruruteynkyu Google!)
Naomi said we have to leave our gadgets inside the car before going to the hot spring. So the onsen images you will see are all from the internet.
We walked our way to Sainokawara Rotemburo, the most beautiful of them all, based on the brochure we got at the tourist information center. Some of the onsen are indoors but this one is the largest public open air bath in Japan.
Now deep into the woods, we discover paradise.
Too bad I didn’t have my camera to capture it. Mental camera, click!
This is a gender-separated outdoor hot spring pool.
At the entrance, we paid 500 yen each and was warned not to stay too long in the water as it’s not good for the body anymore. Went inside, removed our shoes and got ourselves a locker and undressed. Doused ourselves with water before dipping in the hot spring. In that order, oki 😉
Then it’s just boobs and pubes of all growth and sizes, haha, young and old, big and small, all here. The water is as hot as hell but the scenery is just heavenly. We put a cold towel on top of our heads as we slowly take a dip. Ahhh, we are surrounded by trees and mountains, looking up at a clear sky. Green water and blue skies, fog and smoke, these naked ladies look like fairies and nymphs floating in water-an otherwordly sight! I feel like I am in a dream.
Peace, calm, tranquility – complete surrender.
Imagine experiencing this during winter, with snow falling on us, it must be magical.
Images of macaques soaking in the hot spring comes to mind. I remember this particular scene i saw on tv when i was a kid. It was from an infomercial called “Japan Today.” Their eyes were closed with snowflakes on their eyelids. I feel like this macaque now, hahaha, soaking all the worries away, feeling all the stress vanish into thin air.
Ahhh shocking pain then numbness to experience heaven –
N I R V A N A