Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Kusatsu in Winter

Ever since I first visited Kusatsu Onsen in August, I have been a big proponent of this mountain top hot springs resort. As a big fan of the Japanese style of public bathing, when I call Kusatsu my favorite bath, it really means something. 

While Kusatsu is an attractive destination all year round, the appeal of a nice hot bath in the depths of winter is hard to beat. In an effort to been the creeping chill of mid winter, I got together a group of friends who were eager for a bath in the snow.

My friend Marcos is from Miami, and while he has seen snow before, he had never seen falling snow. He was thrilled from the moment we arrived, with a light snow delicately falling as we explored the city. Even being the hardened winter warrior that I am the scene was magical. Marcos was like a kid in a candy store, drinking in the experience with such glee that I think we all had an even better time.

While there are tons of baths around the city, my favorite is on the edge of town, and offers a sauna, indoor bath and outdoor bath. In the basement there is a selection of pools of different temperatures and acidity. Along one side of this room was a patch of wooden floor with a log headrest to lie down on and cool off. Relaxing on the wet wood with sulfurous steam making patterns in the beams of light above was a simply amazing experience.

Fully warmed and relaxed from the baths, we angled straight for an okonomiyaki lunch. Clustering around the hot griddle with the thickening snow fall outside was the perfect end of a winter day.

1 comment:

Mia said...

No matter how much I travel and how much I see it still blows my mind to hear about people who've never experienced snow.