The treatment of illness with baths — known as balneotherapy — has been studied by scientists and is widely accepted in Japan. Japan is said to have more hot springs than any country on earth. The health benefits of onsens date back hundreds of years to when Samurai warriors used them to recover from battles. Mostly, there are male and female onsens or separate times for each to use the same facility. The oldest is thought to be at Dogo, on the island of Shikoku and is believed to have been first used more than a thousand years ago. Japanese onsens, or communal hot springs, adhere to ancient traditions which include bathing naked.
Here, pink-faced Japanese macaques soak away the winter in their very own hot spring.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email. They also offer health benefits and an insight into Japanese culture. The treatment of illness with baths — known as balneotherapy — has been studied by scientists and is widely accepted in Japan. Belatedly, it dawned on me that I would soon be naked with men I had only ever seen in their ski gear. Most bathing stations provide shampoos and toiletries or they are available in a vending machine.