Of all the ways to relax in the cultures around the world, Japan’s tradition of the onsen (温泉, hot spring bath) might be my favorite.
As such a volcanically active country, Japan has thousands of hot springs. Where there’s a hot spring, there’s probably an onsen, and they come in a myriad of shapes, sizes, and types. True, all onsen share a few aspects: individual shower stalls around the walls of the room, and one giant central, communal bath. Most all are marked by the kanji 湯, the hiragana character ゆ, the symbol ♨, or a combination of the three. Beyond that, there are dozens of varieties.