Onsen culture in Japan is more than merely soaking in a tub of hot water. It is an ancient tradition that’s widely appreciated throughout the annals of Japanese history, from Buddhist monks and samurai to today’s modern audience seeking a relaxing retreat.
Aside from the health benefits of taking a soak in hot water rich in minerals, bathing in an onsen is also a bonding experience where friends, family members, and even strangers are entering the hot water pool naked.
While some people may recoil from the thought of being seen naked by others in a public space, one soon forgets all about it as soon the soothing hot spring waters envelop your body.
If you’re traveling in Japan, taking a dip in an onsen is a must. Whether it’s at a traditional Japanese inn known as a ryokan, at a hillside hot spring overlooking Mount Fuji, or at a quaint establishment with an alfresco onsen.
Today, you can recreate the benefits of onsen at your home by adding onsen powder or an onsen bath tablet to your bathtub.
These bath additions turn a regular tub of hot water into one with onsen’s healing properties, melting your fatigue away while invigorating your skin and body at the same time.
The earliest recorded existence of onsen could be traced back to the 6th-century literature Nihon Shoki as a part of purifying ritual bath as well as for the enjoyment of the ancient emperors. As time progressed, this Shinto practice evolved into a healing and bonding moment for the masses.
Back when samurais were galloping valiantly across the battlefields, they would treat their battle wounds and scars in natural hot springs. Legend says that they were inspired by a wounded crane that took a bath in a hot spring, opening the idea of onsen’s healing benefits that lasts even to this very day. Today, it’s scientifically proven that Japanese hot springs do provide benefits for injuries, diseases, skin conditions, high blood pressure, and much more.
In our modern-day, a Japanese hot spring must be warmer than 25oC and has one of the 19 minerals designated officially in the Onsen Law in 1948. These minerals are often the determining factor for the hot spring’s benefits. Some onsen sources could contain more than a mineral, with a few containing up to 9 minerals in the water.
The minerals vary from place to place depending on the location and the depth of the source, forming local strong points that bring regional tourism to life, hence the deeply intertwined onsen and the daily life in Japan.
A Warm Gift from Mother Nature
The benefits of onsen bathing are not only attributed to the minerals found in the spring water that is naturally heated by active volcanoes dotted throughout Japan but also due to a number of combining factors. These benefits can be split into several effect categories, such as:
The healing effects of onsen are closely tied with the minerals, with different hot springs offering a variety of healing effects. Some of the more commonly found minerals in an onsen and their benefits are:
- Sulfur (dry skin, eczema, hypertension, and wound healing)
- Copper and iron (anemia, menstrual disorder)
- Carbon dioxide (constipation, hypertension, burn wound)
- Chloride and sodium bicarbonate (cuts and wounds, rheumatism, dermatitis)
- Hydrogen carbonate (skin softening and cleansing, xeroderma)
Taking a dip in an onsen also helps to improve metabolism and blood circulation by keeping our body warm. In fact, it’ll keep our body warm for longer compared to simply soaking in a tub of regular hot water due to the presence of sodium chloride, sodium carbonate, and carbon dioxide in onsen water.
During the colder months in Japan, many hot springs are infused with yuzu, a type of Japanese citrus that lends a fresh citrusy aroma that relaxes both body and mind while rejuvenating the skin and warding cold off. Another noteworthy aromatic element is Hiba, a member of Japan’s native cypress tree. Hiba is highly prized for its woody, relaxing aroma and adding it to an onsen truly brings a total relaxation that’ll melt your stress away.
When you’re soaking in an onsen, the hot water provides a gentle pressure that effectively massages your body while narrowing blood vessels at the extremities of the body. This helps to ensure that your blood flow will reach every part of the body for improved blood circulation.
It’s often said that you need to soak in the onsen up to your shoulders, and for good reason. The buoyant nature of the hot water effectively reduces our body weight by one-tenth, reducing the burden on joints and body to help you fall into a relaxed state easier.
Inspired by Tradition, Improved by Technology: Shikohin’s Mantra
At Shikohin, we are devoted to time-honoured Japanese skin care and self care rituals. We strive to fuse traditional beauty elements from Japanese culture and nature in a modern format and elevated standards of holistic wellbeing. Our onsen-inspired tablets reinvigorate mind, body and soul during your nightly routines.
Shikohin Hot Spring Onsen Bath Tablets will transform your bath into an onsen experience. The tablet contains pure yuzu and Hiba extracts that lull you into an aromatic embrace while the mineral combination of Magnesium, Sulfur, Sodium bicarbonate, and Kaolin clay rejuvenates the weary body for a traditional Japanese bath that is not only pleasant but also beneficial.
To further elevate its healing properties, the tablet also contains broad spectrum CBD isolate alongside minerals that help alleviate sore muscles after a workout, improve blood circulation, fight inflammation, and relieve joints while keeping you warm long after the bath.
The result of this cbd bath? A warm, restful night that brings to mind the image of a relaxing night spent in a quaint Japanese onsen with a touch of nature.
Recreate the Japanese hot spring experience from the comfort of your home with Shikohin. With a combination of natural ingredients and advanced methodology, Shikohin can help to turn your regular night into a moment of therapy where you can unwind, recuperate, and be ready for tomorrow with renewed vigor.