“This is the first bath I experienced,” Harris says of this onsen in Beppu, “and the one that put me on a path to becoming a full-fledged ofuro (bath)-aholic.” The waters of some geothermal springs are believed to have healing power. Cascade bathing, too, is considered beneficial to the body. “Bathing for cleaning is not practised in Japan,” Harris explains. “Soap is never brought into a bath, be it a communal bath or at home. Washing is done before going into the bath for a soak and then often followed by a thorough rinsing and shampooing.” The onsen experience is one of holistic purification, socialisation and relaxation.