Are you suffering from freezing fingers and aching bones this winter? Feeling a bit under the weather? Luckily, you’re living in a country that has the perfect antidote to cold bodies and the winter blues: dipping your entire body in a mineral-rich onsen (hot spring).
Onsen towns are scattered across the length and breadth of the Japanese archipelago but if you’re looking for a quick day trip away from the noise and steamy crowds of Tokyo, the Izu Peninsula is probably your best bet.
Located just about 100 kilometers southwest of the capital city, the Izu Peninsula has always been a favorite getaway for Tokyoites, particular writers, artists, surfers and scuba divers. One of the best things about the peninsula is that it’s almost completely surrounded by water so in most cases, you can get a double whammy — an onsen soak with an ocean view — and of course, Mt. Fuji at nearly a hand-reach distance. Without further ado, here’s our official onsen guide to the bubbling hot spots of the Izu Peninsula.
Atami, memorialized in several Japanese movies, is often called “the gateway to the Izu Peninsula.” Less than an hour away from Tokyo by bullet train, it’s been a favorite destination for many. In fact, shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616) loved Atami so much that he carried its onsen water all the way back to his residence in Edo (now Tokyo).
Present-day Atami is still teeming with hot spring resorts. Many are located along the coast while others are found in the city’s more mountainous areas. There are also free footbaths like Ieyasu no Yu, located just outside Atami station, and another at Atami Baien, inside the famous Plum Garden near Kinomiya station next to Atami.
Atami’s onsens are rich in salts and sulfates, both extremely good at …continue reading
You haven’t heard it elsewhere, but we’re pronouncing it official: Obento is the new chocolate. While shops and restaurants are going crazy over what chocolates and special dinner plans to offer to impress their customers, we’ve been noticing another rather silent trend that’s gradually been picking up on social media: the handmade Valentine’s Day obento (packed lunches) that women across the archipelago are now making for their husbands, partners — and quite often children, too.
As of today, there are over 5.4k uploads with the hashtag #バレンタイン弁当 (valentine bento) on Instagram and they not only look incredibly delicious, but we’re just absolutely awed at the skills and creativity demonstrated in these works of art. Here they are, take a look for yourself!
1. This unconditional love in a box
Instagram user @chisato_k0225 says she woke up today at 4:30 a.m. to make her husband’s lunch, a gorgeously decorated chirashizushi-inspired obento. The hearts, in case you’re wondering, are made of pickled daikon and ham and we can’t help but feel so touched imagining all the love that’s wrapped up in this tiny box. #Ah-mazing
2. Kiss me baby one more time
This incredible food art made by @s_wave3 is inspired by common romantic scenes in films, she says, while adding that at her age there’s nothing really exciting going on any longer. If we could make even half of what she’s done here, we can proudly say it’d be a life well lived.
3. Not your ordinary eggs