The oldest hot springs town in Japan is bringing the relaxing benefits of onsens online.
While it may feel like every museum, musician, and tourism board has released some form of virtual vacation in response to the coronavirus pandemic, nothing has compared to the virtual moment of zen being offered by these Japanese spas.
Despite the fact that most Japanese onsens and ryokans have temporarily closed in response to the virus, Arima Onsen, Japanʼs oldest hot spring town, is bringing its onsens online in hopes of helping to heal people in self quarantine around the world. Yes, you can now take a virtual dip in a restorative hot spring without booking a flight to Japan, or leaving home at all.
“Japanʼs hot springs can help to heal people in quarantine around the world, as well as increase the efficacy of the quarantine,” Arima Onsen Volunteering Inn owners said in a press release. “This way, we may, even if only slightly, help reduce infections and suffering from the new coronavirus.”
To enjoy the virtual hot spring experience, one just needs to run an everyday bath at home, put on a pair of VR goggles suitable for 4K, and select one of the many hot spring bath scenes from the Arima Hot-spring Baths VR Tour YouTube channel.
“The VR offers a full view of the selected bath and allows the viewer to experience the hot-spring visually and in sound,” the group explained. “The user can vividly hear the thermal waters flowing and enjoy the soothing sound of the cherry blossoms gently fluttering in the wind.”
With over ninety percent of ryokans and onsens in the famous Arima hot spring resort town now closed in response to the virus, the virtual spa experience not only provides much-needed relaxation to those self isolating around the world, but also allows for ryokan owners to show off their esteemed amenities to those looking for future travel inspiration.
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