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August: The Return of Souls

August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, ...

The Beauty of Atami, Shizuoka and 日航亭

The very first white man ever killed in an onsen hot spring accident was here in Atami, in this well- spring, the source of most of all the water distributed to various luxury hotels here.    He died of a heart attack from exposure to hot water and the apparent holiness of the spring itself caused instant death to the foreigner!  I have prayed, so when I enter these waters I am safe and my energies are restored and then I am whole again.

The very first onsen experience I had had was about 20 years ago when I was visiting Japan as a tourist.   Four of us bathed in the mineral richness of Shizuoka's waters.  It was a blessing and a wonderful experience.   From that experience, I went on to travel the whole country to partake in the baptism of hot spring water while surrounding myself with friends and natural energy.   I have since published a book and have earned a sommelier certification by the Onsen Sommelier Association.

It's been awhile since I have blogged about my favorite national pastime.   The onsen or hot spring spa is one of the longest held traditional customs in Japan, and one that is still enjoyed today.  As the weather begins to cool and winter begins to set in, memories of onsen flood into my mind recalling a time when I sat up in an outdoor mountain spring atop a mountain resort with a sake while drinking the winter scene away.  I was captivated by the splendor.   Or, when I soaked away the cares of the world in a huge stone rock bath in the middle of a rice patty in Niigata with a lovely Jukujo under a full moonlit starry night sky.   Those were the days.

With a few more days left until the New Year, I took a jaunt down to Atami, Shizuoka to an old favorite of mine I had once visited 14 years ago.  It's called Yu - Ho -To -BA -shi - ru as the proper name title.   A true power spot source with great water.

The bitter naked chill outside from the eve of winter's kiss and then there's the hot mineral waters from the earth just waiting for you to dip into.   And if you are eccentric then you could sneak in a cold lager and sip on it a bit.  Great things never need to change, and they haven't even from all the years I have been throughout this land.   Nikkotei Oyu

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