The Izumo-no-Kuni-Fudoki (Chronicles of Ancient Izumo, 713-733 AD) is among one of the original encyclopedias of Japan, written for each province to describe local geography, culture and customs, plant life and everything.

When the researchers came to the Lake Shinji area, they found that all the locals were partying in the baths, young and old, all together–but everyone had beautiful, youthful skin. The term “fountain of youth” was not so big a buzzword back in the those days, but they instead spoke of the water and its benefits for beautiful skin.

Today, the waters are still known as the baths of the gods, there is a line of skin products made with the water, and there is a spring from which you can draw water to bring home with you. You can buy little spray bottles by the spring if you didn’t bring a container with you, which I see many ladies do. Just a little onsen tip–the heat does make a difference. Instead of just spritzing the water on your face for a home treatment, the more recommended practice is to heat up the water, soak a towel in it, and then rest it on your face for three minutes (laying it on your face such that you can breath, of course!).

Although I know this advice, I’m a bit lazy with it. I usually go to an onsen for the experience and relaxation, not the supposed skin benefits. You probably won’t notice much after one occasional dip in the onsen–however, after those happy weekends when I’ve gone two or three times, I am quite pleased to find that, “hey, I guess this water really does make your skin feel nice!”

Besides actually relaxing in the bath, I like hanging out outside in the onsen area, too. I’ll introduce one of my favorite little bits of Tamatsukuri next time.