An early morning visit to the oldest Onsen in Japan. Although it is a creaky, old, funky building, it is the heart of Matsuyama. Architecturally, it is a combination of traditional Japanese architecture and an exhibition of vibrant, every day Japanese life. On this particular day, an exhibition of textiles was on display, as part of the sliding screen doors that shade the floors of the onsen.
This is the only onsen in Japan that has a onsen for use by the Imperial family only. It is open to the public for a tour but not for use. It was last used by Emperor Hirohito.
The crane is the symbol of the onsen and is said to be how the onsen was discovered. It is said that the crane was healing itself in the waters of the hot spring when the spring was discovered.
I wrote about my onsen experience in a previous posting here.