Traveled with mom to Japan a few years ago, and only now I felt the urge to post these pictures. Her younger brother was nice enough to take us to Kusatsu, a small mountain village known for their hot springs. It was a long drive from Tachikawa, Tokyo, but worthwhile. The cool, clear mountain air cut through the fog in my lungs. It was refreshing, invigorating.
Yes, the hot springs are communal with separate baths for men and women. I didn't go in the first time and just waited for mom in the locker room since she needs assistance, but I felt even more strange as women came and went, asking in their concerned Japanese way why didn't I go in? So finally got over my hesitation and ended up not caring after a while whether others saw me or not.
Looking back on these images, I realize how fortunate I am to have mom with me, even though we do get on each others' nerves every now and then. : )
They've got a huge manual system set up in the center of the village that guides the boiling water from its source to different areas of the village and nearby hotels.
There's a communal spring where you can sit down, take off your shoes, and dunk your weary, aching, arthritic-ridden feet into the healing waters. Everyone was doing it.
Walking through the simple, narrow lanes was a blissful departure from the crush of daily emails, deadlines, faxes and the computer.
Of course they're able to take advantage of the plentiful boiling water for a myriad of daily purposes such as boiling these eggs!
Every food vendor has his/her items right on the street for easy purchase like these freshwater fish. Also saw traditional arare (mochi crunch), soft mochi, and other goodies being made as fresh as you can get them.