Tokyo can be a lively and booming hotspot of fun, money, and culture. In fact, it fits, in my opinion, the definition of a metropolis perfectly. One can see based simply on the population and economy in Tokyo, that humans are somehow drawn to this metropolis, and have also come to depend on it for their continued business and social lives. Although, the busy streets and literally constant exposure to advertisements, tall buildings, and just plain huge quantities of people, can “get” to even the most seasoned city-dweller.
In other words, we sometimes want to “get away” from Tokyo, but we don’t necessarily want to leave it forever. I have always thought of Tokyo as a beating heart. And the highways and train lines are veins and arteries, carrying people away from the core after work and on the weekends, only to contract and suck them all back in the next work morning. A slightly gruesome, but in my opinion accurate analogy for the Tokyo metropolis. Those of us who are a little bit more wealthy can dwell in the core indefinitely, and draw power from its life-force.
Where are the good getaway spots around Tokyo? And furthermore, what do we hope to gain from this “getaway”?
Imagine, you are a businessman in Tokyo. You could be from another country stopping off on business, or you could be a die-hard salaryman living and working Tokyo until the end of days. A getway for these people will almost undoubtedly involve relaxation, stress relief, and rejuvenation. Japan has long found the answer to cater to the plea of the tired salaryman: “Onsen”, or hot springs. It’s barely about taking a bath. It’s about taking the edge off and dedicating a large portion of your day to slow and concentrated hygiene and relaxation.
Tokyo of course has bath houses and such around the inner city, but taking a one or two
day trip to an area with lush hot springs and small cozy hotels is part of the necessary getaway process. The overarching concept is relaxing, and the foundation of that concept is taking a bath. In that sense, the onsen has come to be representative of taking the edge off; not to mention it is one of the most rudimentary and fulfilling pleasures available to us fleshly beings. To put it simply yet vaguely: It’s not even really about the bath, but it’s all about the bath.
We took a small trip earlier this week to a hot spring resort located in the very popular Enoshima island in southern Tokyo. It is very close to the coast, and is already a popular destination for beach-goers, as well as people interested in the variety of shrines and gardens that can be found on the island.
A very short trip from Tokyo, but you still can feel like you are escaping from the bulk of it. A very important factor in “getting away from it all”.
This island is home to a very special resort spa that aptly fulfills the hot-spring desires of the tired businessman, and in conjunction boasts a very unique medical therapy program. Enoshima Island Spa.
The Japanese have long know the medicinal uses of hot springs, and for about 1500 years have been using it as a primary method to relieve stress, bodily pains and malfunctions, and even quicken the healing process for injuries. This month in Omotenashi.TV, we will be going in depth into the concept f 療法温泉 (ryouhou onsen- therapeutic hot springs).