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28 Jun An Unforgettable Trip to the Land of the Rising Sun, Japan.

Catherine K. narrates her unforgettable trip to Asia’s Land of the Rising Sun, Japan.

What’s a trip to Japan without going to an Onsen? With that in mind, my sister and I searched online and found this place- Oedo Onsen Monogatari. So we arrived at around 5 in the evening. When we got there, there was a sign saying that there will be a 500 yen discount (original ticket price was like 2100 yen) if entered after 6pm.

So if you are planning to go, before you head there, make sure to check their website to see if there are any discounts going on. There are benches to sit on during the wait, and as everywhere else in Tokyo, vending machines that sell drinks. After the wait, we entered and were immediately greeted in first Japanese, later in Mandarin (although I’m fluent in Mandarin, I didn’t understand what he was saying…). If you search for, “hot springs” in Tokyo on the internet, this place almost always pop-up. Therefore, it is a relatively touristy place, and many of the staff speak English and also other languages (commonly, Mandarin Chinese and Korean).

Before entering the hot springs, we had dinner surrounded by a Japanese- styled environment. There is a variety of food to choose from, mostly Asian cuisines, and a common place with tatami where you can experience the way the Japanese dine.

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There is a good variety of hot springs at this place, including natural hot springs, 30- 40 degrees temperature baths and sauna, each one having a different health function to the body. Hot springs are rich in sodium and chlorine ions, and are effective in relieving nerve and muscle pain. There is also an area outdoors where you can stroll barefoot on paths that have protruding rocks, which is supposed to stimulate the nerve endings at the soles of your feet, and stimulate the corresponding body area/organ to function normally. Benches are everywhere so you can put your feet into the water while enjoying the surrounding traditional Japanese garden scenery. Fish doctors (small fish that eat away dead skin cells on your feet) are also offered, but you will have to pay an extra fee (1650 yen for 15 minutes and etc).
There is a section for showers at the indoor hot springs where you can freshen up before heading out. It is completely Japanese- styled, as you sit on a wooden stool, with a wooden bucket and ladle, and a mirror right in front of you.

Also, one important thing to take notice is that, a sign at the entrance clearly states that people with tattoos are not allowed to enter, as in the Japanese culture, having tattoos are often associated with Yakuza (which is basically Japanese mafia).

Onsen is definitely a place to visit when in Tokyo!

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Top 5 Fact File for Tokyo

Languages Spoken: Japanese

Currency: Japanese yen

Capital: Tokyo

Climate:
Japan is in the temperate zone with four distinct seasons. As the flowers reflect the seasons in Japan, one of the most popular recreational activities is the “hanami” (flower viewing), which in most cases, refer to “sakura” (cherry blossoms) during springtime (end of March to early May). In summer, the weather is warm to hot, with high levels of humidity. In August and September, typhoons hit Japan and bring in heavy rainfall, sometimes affecting transport and metro services. Winters are cold and sunny in Tokyo, and snow occurs occasionally.

Local Dishes:
Sushi: As one of the most popular Japanese food worldwide, sushi is raw fish wrapped with vinegared rice and nori (seaweed) wrapped on the outmost layer. Raw fish can be replaced by ama-ebi (sweet shrimp), uni (sea urchin), fish roe and etc.

Sashimi: often confused with sushi, sashimi is thinly sliced raw fish (such as tuna and salmon) served without rice.

Okonomiyaki: Translated literally as, “grilled as you like,” okonomiyaki is a savory pancake filled with batter, cabbage, pork and toppled with fish flakes and a variety of condiments like okonomiyaki sweet sauce and mayonnaise

Yakitori: is a Japanese type of bite-sized skewered meat made from different parts of a chicken, such as breasts, thighs, skin and liver. Commonly served at yakitori-ya (food stands that sell skewered chicken) and izakaya (Japanese-styled pubs), it is often enjoyed with sake (Japanese beer)

Fun Facts:

  • Vending machines in japan sell anything from the normal soft drinks to more bizarre items like beer, cigarettes, ramen in a can, glasses (if you forgot them at home), neckties and pocket-sized books (to read on the metro).
  • The literacy rate in Japan is 100%.
  • Animated Japanese films and TV shows account for 70% of the world’s animation-based entertainment, and there are almost 130 voice-acting schools in Japan.
  • Trains can be so crowded during rush hours that people are employed to cram passengers inside.
  • The only country in the world where slurping loudly while eating noodles is acceptable. In fact, slurping indicates that the food is delicious and is much appreciated by the chef.

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