Myoko has established a system for certifying individuals with special knowledge and experience in the Myoko area—the Myoko Shizen, or Nature, Sommeliers.
Like a wine sommelier, Onsen Sommelier Kazuhiro Toma knows the characteristics and subtle differences to be found in Myoko onsen; he shares some of his knowledge of their charms and unique features.
“Myoko Kogen (kogen is a word you’ll often see, meaning “plateau” or “highland”) has seven hot springs: Akakura Onsen, Shin-Akakura Onsen, Ikenotaira Onsen, Myoko Onsen, Suginosawa Onsen, Tsubame Onsen, and Seki Onsen.
“Although all of the onsen have their sources high on Mt. Myoko (one of the 100 Famous Mountains of Japan) the waters that emerge are quite different in color—clear, reddish-brown, and milky white.
“It is very unusual for onsen with sources so close to each other to be so different in their color and mineral content. This is part of the unique charm of bathing in Myoko, and something that truly sets it apart. Each day you can enjoy a slightly different onsen experience, with a different look, smell and feeling to the skin.
“We Onsen Sommeliers are happy to talk with guests about these differences; we can go into a lot of detail, if you’re really interested! But I can also say that all of them are great for relaxing after a hard day skiing or snowboarding. Soaking in an onsen is a ideal way to ease stiff muscles, or just to unwind after a day of fun.
“See you in the tub!”