Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Arima Onsen and Women's Cars
This past Sunday Katrina, Stacie and Chong trekked to the mountainside town of Arima Onsen to partake of an onsen or Japanese hot springs baths. As we were a small all women group we decided to experience the "Women Only" rail cars. This car is clearly marked "Women Only" in pink boxes all over the car. The platform is also marked the same way so We were rather surprised to see men in this car as we have heard again and again about how the Japanese are very strict rules followers. Some men would enter the car, realize where they were and move to another car. Others just sat down and remained in the car. This happened on all portions of our train ride. Hmmm... We found a wonderful bakery in the Sannomiya train station. We each purchased a few treats and decided to sit down to enjoy them before heading out to Arima. These were the BEST bakery items that we have experienced. We decided before leaving the bakery that we needed to make a stop on the return trip. The train ride to Arima Onsen takes one out through the developed town and into a more rural area where the homes are not as tightly condensed together. There are garden patches, bamboo clusters, and mountains visible from the train. The town of Arima Onsen seems to be built right onto the mountainside and is divided by a sculpted creek. The town is very easy to navigate and quite serene. The serenity of the town is needed to propel one up the very steep walk to our final destination of Arima Onsen Taiko-no-yu. This particular bath house was selected because it has both the gold and silver water. The bath experience is like nothing in the United States. In Japan public bathing is done completely naked. The bathing facility is equipped with washing areas off to the side. Upon entering the bath area everyone scrubs down with soap and water. Once clean, you can enter the baths. This facility has an indoor bathing area and a rooftop bathing area. The indoor bath is what you would expect it to be. The rooftop area is definitely our favorite as you cold experience the cooling temperatures of the day.s weather while relaxing in the hot pools. Baths are enjoyed by all ages. We saw small children to women in their late sixties. We spent about three hours there and came away completely relaxed. We absolutely recommend that everyone experiences an onsen. All you need is a sense of adventure and a willingness to walk around in your birthday suit.
Written by Chong Lee
Written by Chong Lee
Posted by Melanie Shirley at 4:06 AM