Hot spring baths and ryokan

Holiday with Kids - - Japan -

Ao­mori Air­port greets us with a light dust­ing of snow. Tra­di­tion runs deep in To­hoku, a re­gion known for its moun­tains and ski slopes, and the land­scape is even more mag­i­cal un­der­neath a white blan­ket of pow­der. The re­gion com­prises six pre­fec­tures – Akita, Ao­mori, Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi and Ya­m­a­gata – so there’s plenty of nat­u­ral beauty and cul­tural won­ders to ex­plore. A must- do on any trip to the Land of the Ris­ing Sun is to visit a tra­di­tional ryokan (Ja­pane­ses­tyle inn). We stay in Ho­tel Towadaso, right next to the tran­quil beauty of Lake Towada. The snow- coated trees are re­flected in its icy depths, and the scenery is so peace­ful it’s hard to imag­ine this dual crater lake was formed by an enor­mous vol­cano erup­tion!

Be­ing in Ja­pan re­ally hits me when I open the door to my Ja­panese-style room, com­plete with tatami (wo­ven-straw) floor and fu­ton bed. I dress in my yukata robe and head down to the out­door hot spring ( onsen) to cleanse and un­wind af­ter the flight. Din­ner is a tra­di­tional Ja­panese meal at Oi­rase Res­tau­rant, which I devour wear­ing my yukata. This evening is un­doubt­edly the high­light of the trip.

Fam­i­lies keen to ex­pe­ri­ence tra­di­tional cul­ture will be fully im­mersed into the Ja­panese way of life at the ho­tel, but there are a plethora of op­tions for lit­er­ally soak­ing up the cus­toms in one of the na­tion’s more than 3000 onsen. Bub­bling up be­neath the earth, these warm waters must con­tain one of 19 min­er­als and be nat­u­rally warmer than 25 de­grees Cel­cius to be clas­si­fied as an onsen. Kids will love learn­ing about the rit­u­als of cleans­ing be­fore jump­ing into the warm out­door bath although it re­ally re­sem­bles more of a pool.

The re­gion is home to many of these, thanks to the over­abun­dance of vol­ca­noes, and we visit one al­most ev­ery day of our trip. Sukayu

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