Life is going to be so hard when I’m not a CIR anymore. Really, how can I complain about modeling for photos at a foot onsen? Modeling, although infrequent, is just another part of work, and when someone says, “see? That’s me here on this flier,” I can very placidly reply, “ah, and here’s the most recent one I’m on.”

Going to an onsen sounds great right about now. Thankfully I work right around Matsue Shinjiko Onsen Station, the easternmost stop on the Ichibata Railway which links the heart of Matsue to Izumo Taisha. Like many travel facilities in onsen areas around Japan, there is a free foot onsen there.

However, most train station and rest stop foot onsen cannot compare to the charms of Tamatsukuri Onsen‘s foot onsens–I’m purposely adding an ‘s’ because there are three available, two of which are located at the Tamayu River’s edge. You know what? Forget “foot onsen,” let’s just call them ashiyu. Besides generally warming your whole body up and relaxing tired feet, there are supposedly many health benefits just from sticking your feet in onsen water. Those of you who for whatever reason cannot take a full dip in an onsen (though you really should try to experience that!) can take advantage of the hot mineral water and the beautiful surroundings for free!

Besides the ashiyu themselves, non-bathers visiting Tamatsukuri Onsen can also enjoy strolling the onsen resort streets in rental yukata from Hakobune Tamatsukuri Art Box–assuming your aren’t already borrowing a yukata from your ryokan! Seeing as we were already borrowing the yukata for a different photo shoot we were there to do, former Matsue CIR Bernice set up her tripod to get some of these photos of the CIR team at one of the ashiyu. Squint though we did, these were some of my favorites!

I have two information entries about onsen coming up, one about faux pas and another about what makes the water special. Be on the lookout for them! Or step away from your Internet-enabled device and go take a hot bath, that works too.