Onsen bathing is a Japanese tradition that everybody should try when coming here to Hakuba. For many people the thought of being nude in front of a group of strangers in a bath is quite daunting. The Japanese however have been doing this for centuries in public bath houses throughout the nation. There are many onsen baths in Hakuba. My favourites have outdoor baths where you can sit and look out towards the mountain views and even better is to sit out there while it is snowing. Because our hotel only has 8 guest rooms we have the pleasure to be able to offer our guests the opportunity to book an onsen and therefore be able to share the experience with their partner after a hard day on the mountain. Many will sit back and relax with a beer or cup of champagne (please no glass in the onsen areas).
The principle behind the onsen bath is to always keep the water pure.
1) Remove all clothing in the changing room and place in the baskets. I prefer to change into my yukata robe in my room before making my way to the onsen.
2) Take your washing products and modesty towel into the bath area. There is a range of shampoo, conditioner and body soap supplied also.
3) Take a seat at one of the shower stations and now take your time to wash yourself thouroughly. In western cultures the shower is usually a quick process however in Japan it is regarded as a time to relax and cleanse your body and mind.
4) Once you have washed and rinsed yourself of all the soap you can step into the bath to totally relax. For those that thought ahead, a cleansing ale is a good reward while you recap with your partner or friends on the days best runs.
5) A quick rinse off and then back into the changing area to dry off and stroll back to your room.