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Winter Wonderland: Onsen


I always look for this sign when researching about the hotels I plan to stay in. The sign says “天然温泉” Tenen Onsen, and in English it means “natural hot spring.” Having this sign posted in an onsen ryoukan hotel means that their onsen is registered as a real onsen and not something out of a tap that’s treated. A mineral rich hot spring comes out of the earth as it is and at varying degrees in temperature and mineral richness. This post is best enjoyed over a tokkuri of hot sake and a nice soft track, I recommend Kenny “G’s” Esther – studio version. Not live.



Night shot of the annex bath


Day time view. Nothing compares to having a hot bath on a snowy day. The bitter chill, steamy hot mineral water, and nature all fused into one.


Below is a new installment called onsen theater. Enjoy.

Press Play.

The thing I love most about Oigami’s water is it’s softness on the skin. Very mild calcium/sodium rich onsen that soothes tired muscles and works wonders for fatigue. What many don’t realize is that constant soaking in any onsen for a prolonged period of time aides in digestion. For me, usually, after 12 hours of bathing off and on, the next day I feel as if my whole body is completely detoxicated. Soon after, I nap for about five ours, get up, eat, drink more sake, go back to sleep, wake up and then start my onsen ritual all over again. Sounds like an old person, ehh? So what…I paid to stay in an onsen hotel, why go out?


This onsen is called Gorokaku(伍楼閣) and is one of the top favorite spots in Oigami. Be forewarned, this is a mixed bath( men & women).



i was starting to get the shakes from the cold air on the top picture.


Magic hours are usually in the morning thus no people.



The smell of a steamy hot onsen is hard to describe, especially against the bitter cold air of winter. Sweet, warm, and earthy. Sometimes a pungent pine or cypress smell. Just the smell itself is healing the soul.

This is Oigami

To be continued….


  1. That looks like pure heaven and to enjoy it after some special sake would make it even more wonderful. I wouldn't mind the early hour but I would certainly hate the cold!

  2. RN,

    Thanks. It was a lovely experience.


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