Japan knows how to relax. They have been perfecting this art for centuries. And for me, there’s no better place to forget about your day than at an onsen.
For our end-of-year party, my office went to Yufuin, a very popular onsen resort town in Oita Prefecture, just next door to Fukuoka. It was super cold up in the mountains, but it made for a really good onsen experience. There’s nothing like being exposed, literally, to cold mountain air then submerging yourself in very hot water, made even better by visible shooting stars in the night sky. Good times. I also heard that our ryokan was the only one in Japan that uses cobalt blue water.
In Kyushu, Yufuin is a good place to experience some of the best hot springs Japan has to offer. Beppu (also in Oita) and Kurokawa in Kumamoto are two other popular onsen towns in the island.
After breakfast we strolled around the main part of town. It was full of hipster-type stores selling everything from glass Christmas ornaments to tofu gelato. Really nice place and worth a second visit. Stay warm, Japan!