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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Gero Onsen


Listen to the sounds of Gero Onsen

Gero Onsen in Gifu Prefecture, a 3-hour drive north of Nagoya or 90 minutes on the train, is considered one of Japan's top hot spring resorts.

View of Onsen Temple, Gero, Gifu Prefecture

The spa town, set in a picturesque wooded valley, has been in the hot water business since the 10th century and is still going strong today.

Some reviewers have complained of the "identikit" and "concrete" nature of some of Gero's ryokan and minshuku as well as Filipina call-girls touting for custom after dark. Personally, I could live with the architecture and didn't experience much of the town's vice except for a neon sign advertising a "Nude Theatre".

Nude Theatre, Gero Onsen

Sex and hot spas have always gone together in Japan since the days of "onsen geisha" from the Edo Period on. The number of sex museums in onsen resorts also points to the obvious coming together of nudity, R&R and hot water.
Oh, and "gero" (げろ) can also mean "vomit", though Gero the town is "lower bath" (下呂). Big deal.

Gero is easy to get around on foot and there are some interesting temples and shrines to take in. Besides the ryokan you may be staying at, it's also worth checking out some of the free rotemburo (outside spas) and cheap public baths in town.

At this time of year there is also a nightly fireworks and music display on the banks of the Hida River, near the main bridge leading to Gero Station.

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