Did you know that Aomori boasts some of the most famous hot springs in Japan? We went to see some of them.
Just a 20-minute train ride from Aomori Station lies the onsen (hot spring) resort at Asamushi. Onsen have been a central part of Japanese culture for thousands of years, and are often popular tourist destinations. Asamushi offers several types of establishment: from rotenburo (open-air baths overlooking the beautiful scenery) to ryokan (traditional-style inns where luxurious meals and baths are prepared for guests). There is also an outdoor footbath!
The footbath features a mini waterfall, to emulate the original hot spring flowing down from the mountains, and the textured floor of the bath allows you to try your hand (or foot!) at some DIY reflexology. When we visited, there was a cool breeze, and the contrast with the hot water on our feet was invigorating. We met a local woman, who told us that she visits the footbath every day. It’s not surprising; my feet felt great for days after a short soak!
The waters of an onsen are not only warm (at least 25℃ by law, and sometimes quite hot!); they are also filled with natural minerals which make them good for the body. In fact, many stories say that onsen were found by following injured animals who would instinctively seek out the healing waters. Why not try the different types to find which one makes you feel the most relaxed and healthy?
We also visited some of the shops in Asamushi, which sell local produce and souvenirs. I had some delicious ice cream made from Aomori’s famous apples! I could easily have spent hours wandering around and experiencing the different baths and delicacies, and I will certainly return soon. Perhaps I’ll see you there!