Différentes façons de profiter des sources chaudes et autres bains publics au Japon – Des onsen d’extérieurs aux bains en pleine capitale

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Onsen, sento, rotenburo,savez-vous ce que signifient ces mots? Poursuivez votre lecture pour découvrir tout ce dont vous avez besoin pour profiter de la culture unique des sources chaudes du Japon.

La culture des sources chaudes et des spas au Japon

Les îles japonaises sont soumise à une forte activité sismique et géothermique, c'est pourquoi les îles ne sont pas seulement parsemées de volcans, mais aussi de nombreuses sources chaudes naturelles. Les Japonais utilisent des sources naturellement chaudes (appelées onsen, 温泉) pour se baigner et se détendre depuis des siècles et des siècles, et certains bains onsen populaires au Japon sont maintenant utilisés depuis plus d'un millénaire! La culture japonaise des sources chaudes a eu beaucoup de temps pour se développer et se développer, et il existe maintenant une variété énorme de façons de profiter d'un bain relaxant et chaud au pays du soleil levant.

Les Onsen standards



Yudokoro Hinoki, à Hotel Sunvalley Nasu de Tochigi.

Le mot onsen fait référence aux sources chaudes naturelles du Japon, et c'est le terme le plus basique. La définition est simple, un onsen soit:
(1) s'écoule du sol à l'état naturel à une température supérieure à 25 ° C (77 ° F)
ou
(2) contient une certaine quantité de minéraux particuliers.

La Japan Spa Association Hot Spring of Japan a une définition plus détaillée des températures et des minéraux qui font officiellement d'une source thermale un «onsen» ici, séparant le véritable onsen des vieux bains ordinaires. Bien sûr, beaucoup de gens au Japon visitent les bains publics au Japon, qu'ils correspondent ou non à la définition stricte des onsen.

On pense généralement que les trois meilleurs onsen au Japon sont Arima Onsen à Hyogo, Kusatsu Onsen à Gunma et le Gero Onsen à Gifu, mais il existe des onsen populaires dans tout le pays. Vous auriez du mal à trouver une zone sans au moins un bain public! Et beaucoup de gens considèrent qu'une visite à un onsen fait partie intégrante d'une visite au Japon.

Prenez l’air! Les Rotenburo (露天風呂)



Les bains extérieurs du Myogaya Honkan à Tochigi.

«Rotenburo» signifie simplement tout bain situé à l'extérieur à l'air libre, ce qui signifie qu'il peut désigner soit un onsen de source chaude naturelle, soit un bain normal. Prendre un bain à l'extérieur peut sembler un peu intimidant pour les non-initiés, mais les amateurs d'onsen tombent souvent amoureux de l'expérience du rotenburo. Ce dernier permet aux baigneurs de s'entourer de la nature et de vraiment ressentir les quatre saisons du Japon pendant qu'ils se détendent dans l'eau. Ils sont souvent ouverts tout au long de l'automne et de l'hiver, vous pouvez donc regarder les feuilles d'érable rouge dériver de la cime des arbres ou même sentir la neige fondre sur votre peau, pendant que vous restez au chaud dans le bain brûlant. Parlez d'une expérience unique!

Les Ryokan à travers le Japon proposent des rotenburo comme celui-ci dans la région d'Unazuki de Toyama, et les fans de rotenburo choisiront leurs destinations en fonction de la qualité de l'eau ou du paysage naturel. De nombreux classements japonais onsen placent Kinugawa Onsen dans les trois meilleurs du pays, avec Ito Onsen et Atami Onsen.

Bains publics: les Sento (銭湯)



Bain public à Takara-yu à Adachiku, Tokyo.

Sento, ou bains publics, est souvent plus facile d'accès que les onsen, avec des emplacements dispersés dans les plus grandes villes et les plus petits villages du Japon. (Il suffit de regarder cette carte des sento de la zone de la gare de Kyoto!) C'est parce que, comme nous le savons tous maintenant, le terme onsen est strictement réglementé et est utilisé uniquement pour les sources chaudes naturelles, mais les bains sento ne peuvent utiliser que de l'eau normale. Même sans minéraux naturels ni réputation d'effets curatifs spéciaux, se baigner dans un immense bain public fait toujours partie de la culture japonaise, et les sento sont souvent occupés par les habitants appréciant un bain dans leur sento de quartier.

Sento peut être des bains publics assez basiques, mais si vous rencontrez un "Super Sento", vous trouverez probablement plus que ce que vous avez imaginé! Consultez les annonces sur SuperSento.com et vous trouverez un sento comme celui-ci à Chichibu, Saitama, où les bains partagent le bâtiment avec des magasins, des restaurants et des «salles de relaxation» pleines de fauteuils de massage.

Passez-y la nuit: les Ryokan (旅館)



Cuisine Kaiseki à Togen Ryokan à Unazuki.

Les ryokan sont des hôtels japonais traditionnels, allant des petites auberges aux plus grands établissements, et l'accent est généralement mis sur les chambres de style japonais avec des tatamis, des repas luxueux de plusieurs plats et des bains communs – généralement une source chaude naturelle. L'avantage d'aller dans un onsen ryokan est que vous pouvez vous détendre et profiter de votre propre chambre privée après avoir terminé votre bain, déguster des spécialités locales et vous endormir sans avoir à vous traîner à la maison.

Tout pour vous: les Kashikiri (貸切)



Un bain kashikiri à Ryokojin-sanso à Kagoshima.

Vous n'êtes pas intéressé par un bain commun pour partager l'eau avec d'autres inconnus? Vous préférez un bain solitaire, ou peut-être un bain avec un être cher? Ne vous inquiétez pas, il y a une option pour vous aussi! Kashikiri signifie location privée, et de nombreuses installations onsen (en particulier les ryokan) proposent des onsen kashikiri qui peuvent être loués pour un usage privé. Certains hébergements ont même des bains kashikiri intégrés directement sur le balcon des chambres!

♨ Le savoir-vivre dans les Onsen ♨

Prêt à faire une bombe tout nu pour amuser la gallerie? Visiter un onsen peut être amusant, mais ce n'est pas vraiment l'endroit pour faire des folies… Les bains collectifs fonctionnent parce que chacun fait de son mieux pour profiter de l'expérience sans déranger les autres, ce qui est en effet très japonais. La plupart des «règles onsen» que vous verrez relèvent du bon sens, et elles sont principalement là pour vous garder, vous et les autres baigneurs, en sécurité et heureux, alors gardez un œil attentif et suivez les règles que vous voyez affichées! Pour quelques consignes de sécurité de base avant de partir, consultez celles de la Japan Spa Association Hot Spring of Japan.



Takamatsu Onsen à Kusatsu, préfecture de Gunma.

Onsen autorisant les tatouages

Malheureusement, de nombreux bains publics au Japon ne permettent toujours pas aux personnes tatouées d'entrer dans l'eau ― ou, dans certains cas, d'entrer même dans les bâtiments! Pendant de nombreuses années, les tatouages au Japon ont été associés aux Yakuza, et donc, interdire les clients tatoués est toujours considéré comme une pratique de sécurité dans certains onsen et sento. Mais au fil des années, de plus en plus d'établissements autorisent les tatouages, et de nombreux endroits sont prêts à faire des exceptions pour les voyageurs étrangers avec de petits dessins. Si vous en avez, consultez notre liste de sources chaudes autorisant les tatouages pour savoir où aller!

Profitez du bain!

Les sources chaudes du Japon sont profondément liées à la culture locale et les voyageurs commencent tout juste à le comprendre. Mais le monde des onsen est vaste, avec beaucoup à offrir ― les vrais amateurs d'onsen peuvent acquérir les qualifications nécessaires pour devenir «instructeur onsen», «sommelier onsen» ou «coordinateur onsen». Il y a même des onsen qui attendent toujours d'être trouvés, nichés dans les berges et les dunes de sable ou dans les montagnes ― serez-vous celui qui les trouvera?

(Faites juste attention, cependant, ces sources chaudes dans la nature peuvent être brûlantes!)

Pour d'autres infos et news sur le Japon, suivez Japankuru sur twitter, instagram, et facebook!  

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    • Kansai (関西地方) is a region that includes Mie, Nara, Wakayama, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo and Shiga prefectures. Gradually becoming one of the most popular areas of Japan, Kyoto's temples and shrines, Osaka Castle, and feeding the deer in Kobe are considered a must. Many say the people in Kansai are more open and friendly, making it a fun place to hang out at night.

    • Kyoto flourished as the capital of Japan between the years 794 and 1100, becoming a center for poilitics and culture, and to this day it's a great place for close encounters with Japanese history. The cobbled streets of Gion, the atmospheric road to Kiyomizudera Temple, Kinkakuji's golden walls and countless historic attractions, even Arashiyama's Togetsukyo Bridge―Kyoto is a place of many attractions. With new charms to experience throughout the seasons, travelers can't stop themselves from returning again and again.

    • Osaka is known for friendly (and funny) people, but its history is nothing to laugh at, playing a major part in Toyotomi Hideyoshi's 16th century unification of Japan. Thanks to long years of economic activity, it's one of Japan's biggest cities, and Osaka's popular food culture earned it the nickname "The Kitchen of the Nation." To this day Osaka is the model of western Japan, and alongside historic structures like Osaka Castle, it also has major shopping malls like Umeda's Grand Front Osaka and Tennoji's Abeno Harukas. Osaka is a place to eat, eat, eat, with local specialties like takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and kushi-katsu, and for extra fun, it's home to Universal Studios Japan.

    • CHUGOKU

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      The Chugoku Region (中国地方) consists of five prefectures: Hiroshima, Okayama, Shimane, Tottori, and Yamaguchi. In Chugoku you’ll find the sand dunes of Tottori, and Hiroshima’s atomic bomb site, plus centers of ancient history like Grand Shrine of Izumo.

    • SHIKOKU

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      On the other side of the Seto Inland Sea opposite Japan’s main island, Shikoku (四国) is a region made up of four prefectures: Ehime, Kagawa, Kochi, and Tokushima. The area is famous for its udon (in Kagawa), and the beautiful Dogo Onsen hot springs (in Ehime).

    • Kagawa Prefecture is on the northern part of the island of Shikoku, facing Japan's main island and the Seto Inland Sea. It's known for being the smallest prefecture in Japan, by area, but at the same time Kagawa is called the "Udon Prefecture" thanks to its famous sanuki udon. Aside from Kotohiragu Shrine and Ritsurin Garden, the prefecture's small islands are popular, and Kagawa is full of unique destinations, like Angel Road. They say that if you lay eyes on Zenigata Sunae, a huge Kagawa sand painting, you'll never have money troubles ever again.

    • Located in the most southwestern part of Japan, Kyushu (九州) has 7 prefectures: Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki and Kagoshima. Famous for its unique culture and history of Chinese and Dutch trade and Western missionaries, Kyushu offers many historic treasures and beauties. It is also home to some of Japan's most famous natural hot springs due to all the volcanos.

    • FUKUOKA

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      Fukuoka Prefecture has the highest population on the southern island of Kyushu, with two major cities: Fukuoka and Kitakyushu. Thanks to growing transportation networks, Fukuoka is more accessible than ever, and so are the many local attractions. On top of historical spots like Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, travelers shouldn't miss Fukuoka's food scene, with motsu nabe (offal hotpot), mentaiko (spicy cod roe), and famous Hakata ramen―best eaten from a food stall in the Nakasu area of Hakata. Plus, it's full of all sorts of destinations for travelers, like trendy shopping centers, and the beautiful nature of Itoshima and Yanagawa.

    • KAGOSHIMA

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      Kagoshima Prefecture played a major role in Japan's modernization as a backdrop for famous historical figures like samurais Saigo Takamori and Okubo Toshimichi, who pushed Japan out of the Edo era and into the Meiji. Because of that, Sengan-en Garden is just one of many historical destinations, and when it comes to attractions Kagoshima has plenty: the active volcano of Sakurajima, popular hot springs Ibusuki Onsen and Kirishima Onsen, World Heritage Site Yakushima Island, even what Japan calls the "island closest to heaven," Amami Oshima. Kagoshima might be found on the very southernmost tip of the southern island of Kyushu, but there's plenty to see.

    • OKINAWA

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      The island chain of Okinawa (沖縄) makes up the southernmost tip of Japan, which is why it's also the most tropical area in the country. Thanks to a history of independence and totally distinct political and cultural events, Okinawa has a unique culture, and remnants of the Ryukyu Kingdom are still visible all over the islands. Food, language, traditional dress, it's all a little different! It's also said to be the birthplace of karate.

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