|Welcome to Murasugiyu, a Bucolic Hot Spring Village|
|Murasugi Community Outdoor Bath|
In contrast, shortly after the Yakuza member departed, one of three men who came into the hot spring bath stared at me in surprise, didn't greet me, and roughly asked where I was from. I politely answered and then submerged myself in the healing warmth of the clear water and greenery surrounding the outdoor bath. Their conversation, though, was rather loud, so I learned that they were government officials visiting from another prefecture.
The contrast in the manners of the four men that I met in the outdoor bath was remarkable, considering the stereotypes of Yakuza and how certain Japanese public officials are reacting to people with tattoos. A Japanese newspaper on May 23, 2012 reported that the mayor of Osaka said, "Citizens feel uneasy or intimidated if they see see tattoos (on workers) in services and it undermines trust in the city.“ Click to read another article about tattoos in Japan.
|Remove Geta Before Entering Changing Room|
To enter the bath, you must purchase a three hundred yen ticket from an automatic vending machine at a gate before the spring and place that ticket in a wooden box next to the vending machine. Remember to your shoes off before walking into the tiny wooden shed-like building which has a changing room and small lockers for each sex. The bath is enclosed within wooden fences, but you can still enjoy views of trees and bamboo from within. The sides of the bath were built from rocks that the locals had collected from the nearby mountain. The rocks were positioned to form comfortable backrests or seats in the hot spring.
There is little development in the area, so the hot water rising from the bowels of the earth, and the cool water running through gurgling streams, are crystal clean. In addition to enjoying the healing hot spring waters, many visitors fill up containers with fresh spring water and take those back home.
|Collecting Fresh Spring Water for Drinking|
|Listen, Then Taste the Fresh Dripping Water|
Click to find this bucolic village on a map.