Rabbi Edery visits Natural Onsen in Hokkaido
All over Japan one can find natural geysers and hot springs. There are many that can be found in the mountains, near rivers and lakes. Some are more commercialized, using the hot spring water, pumping up to the surface into a pool, sometimes adding regular tap water.
Rabbi Edery recently visited Hokkaido to check the hot springs. According to Torah law, a kosher mikveh, ritual bath, has certain requirements. No pipes or pumps may be used in order for it to be kosher. Several hot springs were kosher. However, some were too hot to bathe in. One of the hot springs was so hot, it was around 90 degrees Celsius. The smell of the sulphur was very strong. There was steam rising from the hot spring to the air.
Another beautiful onsen that Rabbi Edery visited, was in Shikostsu, Hokkaido. The hot spring has water coming out from the bedrock. There is a narrow, small waterway from the hot spring connecting it to the lake. The level of the water in the hot spring and the lake is the same. When sitting in the hot spring the view is breathtaking. The lake is surrounded by five huge mountains. They rise in splendor behind the deep blue color of the lake. Just watching this G-dly miracle is invigorating.
Japanese hot springs- onsens and Jewish mikvehs are another special connection between both cultures. Mikveh is the most basic necessity in the life and continuity of the Jewish people. The Mikveh is used to purify people. Japanese traditionally used hot springs from days bygone to this very day to relax, heal and get good energy.
Historically, the first time we read about geysers and hot spring is when G-d Almighty brought about the Great Flood during Noah’s time. From that time on G-d did not close all of them, but allowed some to remain and continue, for us to enjoy, heal and purify ourselves.
One thought on “Rabbi Edery visits Natural Onsen in Hokkaido”
I always wondered about whether some of the onsen would be kosher as a mikveh!