Founded in the 7th century, Ikaho Onsen (Ikaho Hot Springs) is one of Japan's most popular hot spring resort areas located in the Gunma Prefecture .
The hot springs are concentrated around Ishidan - a 365 flight of stone steps which are also lined with traditional inns and shops.
Wifey and I managed to spend a day at Ikaho filming for a wee bit - today we take a look at the hot spring area and the traditional inn that we stayed at.
The Ikaho Onsen map - at the center of it all are the Ishidan stone steps.
To get there, you need to get on the Joetsu Line and get off at Shibukawa Station . You then need to take a bus to Ikaho Onsen which is another 30 min ride. Presuming you are traveling from Shinjuku, your train route would look like this <- this link calculates the train departure times for you so make sure its set to the morning or day time otherwise it will show you a different route.
Folks who had bad fortune bestowed upon them after a round of Omikuji would tie the piece of paper to the fence so that the fortune does not come true - stuff like "rabid baboons will come and steal your Internets forever" or "giant red ants will come to pour sugar water on your private parts and feast on them for eternity."
We sit outside the shop to tuck in. Please excuse the chopsticks stuck into the cup as I wanted to get a good shot without dropping them on the floor ^^;
For those who are not beknowist, it is very bad luck to stab your chopsticks like this in food as it resembles the incense sticks used during a funeral ><
Its a weekday so nobody is around - I get to have the whole of the mens onsen to myself ^^;
Unless you go for the private Kashikiri Onsen where you get to share with your family, the main baths are separated between men and women and usually change - in the morning the south bath hall will be for men and in the evening it will be for women so that both parties can experience the different onsen.
There is usually a variety of onsen in the main bath - both hot and cold. During busy periods this bath would be filled with hairy (or shiny) men. Some walk around covering their lil bro while some like to show off by swinging it around ><
Being brought up in the UK - I was certainly not accustomed to walking around in my birthday suit in front of others but am now used to it - but don't think I'll ever be confident enough to start swinging lil bro around ^^
Have you tried a Japanese onsen in your b'day suit?
...the Ikaho Toy, Doll and Car Museum which is also located in the vicinity - much recommended where you feel like you've taken a trip back in time. Check out my photos here.
Also check out more places to visit in Japan listed up below.