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Japan, the “Land of the Rising Sun,” is an island country in East Asia. Although it is a nation with rapid modern development, it has never lost touch with its traditional culture and heritage. The island is blessed with more than 3,000 mineral-rich onsens, fed directly from the 25,000 thermal springs bubbling beneath its unique geothermal archipelago. Furthermore, the ongoing volcanic activities provides continuous fuel for its numerous hot springs. These natural onsens, which are scenically beautiful and wonderfully warm enough for bathing, are also rich in minerals that are beneficial to the human body. For over a thousand years, hot springs have become an essential part of the Japanese way of living; namely, they provide a sanctuary for personal reflection, relaxation and healing. Have you ever wondered how the healing benefit of hot springs was discovered? According to “Nihon Shoki” (“The Chronicles of Japan”), the 1,300-year-old annal of Japanese history and legend, a white heron was healed after dipping its injured leg into hot water gushing out of the rocks. Ever since then, people started bathing in the naturally heated spring water onsens for healing and relaxation. “Bathing just once in this hot spring will clear your skin, and continued bathing will cure all of your aches and pains... people call it – the water of the gods.” This is a saying about Tamatsukuri Onsen written in 733 AD, as recorded in the “Izumo no Kuni Fudoki” (“Chronicle of the Land of Izumo”). This saying provides another insight into the importance of onsens and their value in the hearts of the Japanese people. This “water of the gods” in the myriad of Japanese onsens has for centuries soothed, healed and nurtured all who partook in its pleasures. The spirit of generosity and hospitality of the Japanese people is perhaps best summarized by the motto of Hananoyu Inn, as featured in the animation movie “Okko’s Inn”: “Hananoyu Spring rejects no one. It welcomes and heals everyone!” We thank Japan for sharing this abundant blessing from Mother Nature with the world.