FUKUSHIMA -- A hot spring resort here is offering visitors a chance to dress up like one of the region's traditional "kokeshi" dolls while steaming in a sauna.
As part of the novel experience, guests at the "Otomeyuri" facility at Tsuchiyu Onsen hot spring wear a kokeshi-themed poncho designed by a local craftsperson and sit on a chair in an empty wooden bathtub made of Japanese cypress. A slatted wooden floor mat is put on the bottom of the bathtub and hot spring water running under the mat supplies the sauna with steam.
Visitors to the facility in northeastern Japan are offered soothing views of a green forest while steaming in the sauna. Hiroaki Sato, 35, general manager of the facility, said, "I hope visitors will sample three famous attractions of Tsuchiyu -- kokeshi dolls, hot springs and nature, all at one time."
Those who made reservations are given priority for the kokeshi doll sauna. For inquiries, please call the facility on 024-563-7373 in Japanese.
(Japanese original by Naoki Watanabe, Fukushima Bureau)