Mixed bathing going under
The Japan Times: Nov. 6, 2005, by GEOFF BOTTING—
For centuries, amorous Japanese couples have looked forward to autumn. That’s because as the temperatures drop, hot-spring resorts become the ideal romantic getaway, where a man and a woman can soak naked together in a large, steamy bath.
These days, however, the tradition of mixed bathing appears to be headed for extinction. The number of mixed hot springs, called kon-yoku in Japanese, is dwindling at an alarming rate…
“Mixed bathing, whereby complete strangers could enjoy hot springs amid calmness and harmony, is a distinctive feature of Japan,” Matsuda sighs. “It has a history of at least 1,300 years. It’s outrageous that some mindless people are destroying this tradition.”
Draining away… Why?
Traditional fake onsen (æ¸©æ³‰) hot springs just aren’t all that fun. Konyoku would accomplish their naturalist resort aims but at 10,000yen per person per night, it’s pricey lodging and that’s stuffed with tacky have omiyage/gift shops and a lodge with karaoke, toilet slippers, PA system to announce 7am breakfast of burnt fishheads, pickles and rice. Sheesh. That’s sooooo romatic.
Now before you say I’m being harsh on the no-fun aspect to Japanese hot spring vacation weekend, let me tell you I use a hot spring every day on my rice ranch in Shikoku. The monster-sized, tile on concrete bathtub on the farm has a leak and it’s easier just to walk 200 meters down the hill to enjoy a new-traditional, very posh bath of Onsen-Gun district government. It’s just the rest of the aspects of Japanese hot-spring resorts are just so unfun and needlessly expensive, of course their use is declining.