|Happy Communal Mixed-Sex Bathing Photograph Courtesy of Sukayu Onsen|
|Safe and Warm Mixed-Sex Bathing in Japan Photograph Courtesy of Sukayu Onsen|
Even hot spring addicts who have been to hundreds of hot springs within Japan will realize these baths are exceptional. First of all, the mixed-sex bathing area that is named Sennin Buro, or "bath of a thousand bathers," is one of the largest I have ever seen. You won't actually encounter a thousand bathers, and the 2,669-square-foot communal bath guarantees adequate privacy and space to stretch out. Second, the water contains an unusually thick mix of minerals, including sulfur, which feels terrific on smooth, healthy skin. But it causes skin cuts and the eyes to sting. The mineral content also reduces water visibility, which adds to the privacy of your privates. The third point is the utterly relaxed attitude to public nudity. Hundreds of onsens in Japan still allow communal bathing, but there is something about the local culture and the size of the baths that keep people mellow and respectful of others. Finally, the old beech-wood building and steamy air combine to create an old-fashioned healing atmosphere. The hot spring has a history of over three hundred years. In addition to the large bath that men and women share, there are smaller single-sex baths for people who prefer not to mix.
|Jigokunuma or Hell Swamp in Winter Photo Courtesy of Shintaro Takada|
|Jigokunuma or Hell Swamp in Fall Photo Courtesy of Shintaro Takada|
|Local Aomori Beef|
|My Warm, Snug Futon|
|In My Imagination, The Snow Outside My Room Looked Like a Whale|
Getting There: Scroll down this page for bus information.
Another outstanding hot spring hotel in Aomori is the Aoni Inn.
An excellent report on winter sports in Aomori is here.