Healing Waters & Haiku: Japanese Onsen at Kamiyusou, Totsukawa, Nara 神湯荘

Kamiyusou Onsen, Totsukawa,Nara
Kamiyusou Onsen, Totsukawa, Nara. Silence, steam and serenity along the river!

mist, water and rock

a silent force guiding me

deeper in nature

I am obsessed with Japanese onsen and its impeccable ritual of bathing. For a full two years I reveled at the touristy yet splendid Spa World in Osaka when I lived in Shinmachi, then went local at Naniwa Onsen when we moved to the Nagaranishi neighborhood. I swear I could just bathe there daily!

View outside the window, the sounds of the river could be heard all night long like a lullaby.
View outside the window, the sounds of the river could be heard all night long like a lullaby.

Bathing and cleanliness Japanese style: It makes perfect sense to keep our shoes outside of the house and not in our closets! Makes sense that after the day has ended we wash off the stress and dirt and relax, jump into clean sheets with a clean body after taking a bath! Very Japanese, sensual, relaxing and just what the West needs! Chill!

Nestled in the mountains with plenty of mist.
Nestled in the mountains with plenty of mist.

During my time in Japan I have been to a handful of other traditional onsens in the Kansai area, but none were so wonderful as those I stayed at while on a Faith in Nature Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage I undertook with my Sensei.

Because water is such a spiritual aspect of our lives, to be connected to it in such a profound way is an integral part of the experience of faith in nature and our own lives. As our bodies are 70 percent water! Water is important! And the Japanese understand this well and work to protect its water resources. That’s because the Japanese understand that they are a part of the water and the water is a part of them! There is no separation between humans and nature!

The Men and Women's onsen are separate and change every night. This one indoors, the other outside.
The Men and Women’s onsen are separate and change every night. This one indoors, the other outside.

My first night Sensei arranged was spent at the Kamiyusou Onsen, Totsukawa in Nara Prefecture. It was perfectly nestled deep within nature and with ample October ambiance for morning yoga and for writing haiku! Nature right outside your window all night, your companion for faith in nature. The comforting Kamiyu River, 上湯川; Kamiyu-gawa , outside the window under a half moon – sublime. Nature seeps in – your “self” you thought once was…. ceases to exist. There is only nature….

Glorious nature emerges in the dawn light to carry you deeper into nature so that she will reveal her secrets to you in silence on the dark path of the Kumano Kodo.

tired bones walking

straight into healing waters —

minerals, heat, source

onsen
Rock, water, energy, time and space. Our bodies connect with the cosmos in onsen!
Delicious kaiseki course meal! Normally vegan me communes with the river fish on pilgrimage.
I love bathing in onsen, then dressing in yukata before partaking in a delicious kaiseki course meal! A delicious one at Kamiyusou! Normally vegan me communes with the river fish on pilgrimage. Japanese food is always so mindfully prepared, everything a beautiful aspect of the now not to consume, but to commune! A life lived in harmony with nature, as traditional Japan does, is a life well lived – awake and in awe of your life and the world!
Sakura, cherry blossom,  detail on pillow.
Sakura, cherry blossom, detail on pillow.

The healing waters of Kamiyusou onsen are a welcome part and integral spiritual experience of any pilgrimage to the Kumano Kodo. For the waters that seep from the earth are infused with just as much power as the rocks whose energy carry us forward in our understanding of faith in nature.

mist on the mountain
shrouds memory of my dreams —
there is only now


Kamiyusou Onsen, Totsukawa,Nara
Kamiyusou Onsen, Totsukawa,Nara
It’s the details that wake you up in Japan.

8 thoughts on “Healing Waters & Haiku: Japanese Onsen at Kamiyusou, Totsukawa, Nara 神湯荘

  1. Dear Sydney-san, Thank you for sending me the information on your experience in Japan.It’s amazing that you know and appreciate our culture more than the averageJapanese people. I think you can work as guide of our culture after you comeback here and I would like to be any help for you and work together if you agree.Now I am preparing for my new guide job for Nishijin Textile Museum in Kyotofrom spring and looking forward to seeing you soon again ! Namaste !Youen 

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Yuen-san!!! ARIGATO! How I love Japan! Here in Orlando, I reflect on the beauty of my experience and the joy of my friends in Japan! Thank you! I love to share the things I am passionate about – spirit, joy, beauty, nature – Japan has it all! I am so honored to share my blessed experience in Japan and hope to guide others to the gates of the same spiritual paradise!

      Like

  2. It was so interesting to learn more about Japan and how it handles water resources. I really want to visit someday, that would be wonderful. Those pictures are absolutely gorgeous, and make me want to try an onsen. If I do make it to Japan, that’ll be a must for me. Fantastic haiku, as well! I really enjoyed reading this!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful post! I luv water & nature and wish I could have experienced Onsenss also.Luv & hugs, I hope u r feeling better. Meditate and remember what you felt like at the on son

    Sent from AT&T Yahoo Mail for iPhone

    Like

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