5 Undiscovered Vacation Spots In Western Japan

Bounded by the same national identity, these enchanting gems shed a different on Japan

I personally really love Japan. So much so, it has been five times since I have visited the country and lived to tell the tale here and here.

One may assume I'm talking about the more familiar tourist-y places of Tokyo, Kyoto and Hokkaido, but instead, I found myself gravitating to the lesser-known-and-treaded gems in the Western part of Japan.  Breathtaking, enthralling and brimming with a myriad of fun activities, here are five vacation spots in Westen Japan for an alternative experience of the Land of the Rising Sun.

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2. Matsuyama

Visit: Dogo Onsen

Dogo Onsen is the oldest hot spring in Japan. The waters are said to having healing powers which many seek out from more than 3,000 years ago. In 596 AD, the royal prince of the time also visited the hot springs.  Currently, the ancient onsen exists as Dogo Onsen Main Building, a three-storey wooden structure public bath built in 1894. The bath has two entrances, one for ordinary people to enter and exit, and the other for the Japanese royal family to use. On the first floor, there are two natural stone baths called “God’s Soup” and “Soup of the Spirits.” After bathing, you can take a bathrobe to the public rest area on the second floor or the private rest area on the third floor. While the latter is completely air-conditioned, it can get naturally cool in winter and even summer.

The cost of admission is between 410 and 1550 yen, and the price can be said to be quite reasonable.  This ancient road hot spring is the prototype of the iconic bath house you see in the Studio Ghibli film Spirited Away! In January 2019, it will undergo renovations on the second and third floors, hence the rest area will be temporarily closed for the next seven years. So if you want to fully experience the hot springs, it’s fine time you pay it a visit as soon as possible.

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