Relaxing in Japan’s Onsen

Before you shrug this off as another piece on boring old communal baths, one must compare the
similarities and differences of Japan’s sento and onsen. Roy
Furchgott shares his story in the
Washington Post,
but to keep it basic and simple, sento are indeed communal baths, but onsen are a notch above the ordinary for the
foreign traveler.  The water found in onsen are from mineral springs heated by volcanic action. Usually
attached to a Japanese-style guesthouse called ryokan, the onsen tend to be a little more like spas and offer a real
good taste at traditional Japanese methods of relaxing and hospitality.  Upon arrival don’t expect to see a whole
lot of tourists, instead lookout for the locals looking to relieve some of the work week stress and rediscover much of
their own old traditions.  Must be nice!