✍️: Erin 📸: Jan & Erin
One of the best parts about backpacking is the surprises you find during a detour from your detour. Friends: If you are ever in northern Japan and don’t go to the onsen we found, you’re dead to me.
Hokkaido is Japan’s northernmost main island, known for its volcanoes, skiing and … natural hot springs. We’d planned to spend a few days hiking in a large national park, but that wasn’t doable without more time or a pricey rental car.
Instead, we stopped for a night at the far south of the island, in Hakodate, before finding a town in between known for its geothermal activity, Noboribetsu.
Think of it like a mini Yellowstone.
We did all the short hikes, and then … OMG, people … we went to the incredible onsen attached to the Dai-ichi Takimoto-kan hotel. No photos here because, well, it’s a bathhouse (gender specific).
Modesty quickly falls away when you’re in a sprawling, tiered, tiled room with Roman-esque pillars, a massive window overlooking a forest, and a dozen separate pools of varying mineral-rich water and temperatures, three of which were in an outside garden. The hotel has photos here.
If that weren’t enough, the dressing-room area was nearly as large with all kinds of skin and hair products. And you get your own robe and slippers to just lounge in, or walk around the hotel if you’re staying there.
Anyone in for a Japan ski vacation next year (if we have any money left)?!