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Noah Brown
Noah Brown

Go Guy Plus Onsen Trip Extra Quality

My first experience skiing in Japan was when I took a daytrip from Tokyo to ski at Gala Yuzawa. Since then, I've taken two more extended ski trips to a Japanese ski resort included on the Ikon ski pass and Mountain Collective ski pass: Niseko United.

Go Guy Plus Onsen Trip

I loved visiting Niseko United in January 2020 and, more recently, in December 2022. So today, I'll tell you how and why to plan a trip yourself, including tips for planning a trip to Niseko using points and miles.

Finally, one of my favorite parts of visiting Japan is enjoying Japanese onsens. Onsens are hot spring baths ranging from a simple tub to many pools in a beautiful setting. After a long day of skiing, soaking in an onsen with views of the snow-covered mountains is amazing. Some accommodations have on-site onsens, but you'll also find many onsens around Niseko that you can visit for a modest fee.

You can also often find reasonably priced economy-class awards through various programs. For example, you can still find one-way American AAdvantage awards from the U.S. to Japan this winter for 32,500 miles plus $5.60 in taxes and fees.

If you love skiing, hot springs and Japan, consider planning a Niseko ski trip. After staying at the well-located Hilton Niseko Village earlier this month and enjoying its complimentary ski valet for guests, I'm already planning to return next year.

Eat. Sleep. Adventure. Repeat. Nestled in the Ouachita Mountains, Hot Springs' bustling Downtown might be the best base camp ever. Here you will find some of the plushest and most iconic accommodations in Hot Springs, plus restaurants, nightclubs, entertainment venues, clothing boutiques, museums, and more, located in commercial buildings dating back to 1886.

These towns are far enough away to feel like a proper break, but close enough that you can be there and back in time for an early-ish night. Want to weigh your options with onsen further afield? Consider these five onsen worth traveling for. For those of you who are more excited to see monkeys bathing than getting in yourselves (or want to combine the two), have a look at our article on getting to the popular Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park in Nagano.

Side note for the nervous: Being publicly naked may not be your idea of relaxing, but believe us (as some of the most prudish of prudes), it is so, so worth it. As long as you follow the onsen protocol, and after a few stares, the other people will soon lose interest and you can carry on your merry way.

An easy bus ride from Tokyo, Kusatsu is one of the better-known spots among onsen lovers due to its unique, open-air cooling technique. Stroll through the streets in the evening to admire the yubatake: a giant chute of hot water running through the center of the town and supplying the many onsen nearby.

When you visit, be sure to make a short trip to nearby Mizusawa Temple, which is popular for the udon shops that line the route to its doors. The area is home to one of the three most famous types of udon in Japan, alongside Sanuki udon of Kagawa and Inaniwa udon of Akita.

Getting there: There are train options which are covered if you have a JR Pass (take the shinkansen to Takasaki and transfer to a local train to reach Shibukawa before hopping on a bus from there). Otherwise a JR highway bus from Shinjuku Station is most convenient, as they run frequently each day direct (some continue to Kusatsu). The trip costs around 2,600 each way and takes 2.5 hours.

If you want to leave behind the more built-up style of the town, visit one of the more rural spots like Okukinu Onsen (a collection of five onsen which require a bus from town and a hike to visit) or the small town of Yunishigawa (one hour by bus from Kinugawa), which is home to onsen as well as a snow house festival.

As a historical onsen area that flourished in the Edo period (1603-1867), Nozawa Onsen is as famous for its natural hot spring baths as it is for its ski slopes. The 13 bathhouses are housed in unique, Edo-style structures that are easy to distinguish when walking through the village centre. Plus, they are all free.

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Insider Tip: At just a little more than a 2-hour drive, visiting Umpqua Hot Springs makes a great day trip from Bend, Oregon. Just be sure to get an early start on the day to avoid the crowds as best as you can!

When I am helping people plan a trip to Yellowstone through my vacation coaching service, I recommend shopping outside the park for better prices and more variety. You could eat every meal in a Yellowstone restaurant, but that takes a big chunk of time from your day. I recommend bringing at least lunch with you to picnic along the way.

National Park tour packages are definitely the easiest ways to go and the most expensive. Like all these other cost categories, the prices vary wildly depending on how long you want to go to Yellowstone, how luxurious you want your trip to be, and what time of the year you travel. A Yellowstone vacation package costs from $1,000/person for four nights to $5,000 or more per person. Not including tax and tips.

I am wanting to take a 2 day trip to Yellowstone plus the 2 day drive from Colorado for my birthday in Sept. When I the best time as far as animals, view, less crowded? I have VA disability plates and a letter showing 90% do I get in free or what is the cost? Any suggestion on a basic hotel around 100$/ nite?

We are planning a family trip of 4 (all adults) to Yellowstone 2nd week of June, 2021. (Good or bad timing) Thinking of flying into Bozeman & rent a car from there. Thinking of 10-day trip to see Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Jenny Lake, Cody, WY & Jackson Hole. Taking your suggestions about picnics for lunch. Hotel suggestions appreciated!

Sounds like a great trip! June can be lovely, but it can also be wet and cold. Plan for all kinds of weather. There will still be some babies around in early june (bison, moose, etc) and bears will be out with cubs.

Hi! Sounds like a fun trip.The weather in July is variable (as it is in every month), but I am guessing highs in the 70s and 80s in the park, maybe warmer in the north around Mammoth. Nights can still be cool. I recommend checking the weather forecast ten days before your trip.

If you have a tattoo you will be banned from pretty much any public onsen. As clothing cannot be worn in Japanese onsens (no swimwear, etc) and any tattoo is banned, including the most innocent butterfly, this is tricky. Covering tattoos in these environments with a bandage is reportedly very acceptable for Westerners, but for a range of reasons I have not tried this. Depending on the size of your tattoo, that may not be practical, either.

This website lists known tattoo-friendly onsen across Japan (it is in Japanese). They are still the exception, however. If you have a tattoo and you want to experience an onsen, there is another solution, however. (Scroll down to see the section on solutions, below.)

If no one sees your tattoos, they are your business. If you book a private onsen, rather than attending a public bathhouse, no one will see you naked and you will still be able to experience a Japanese onsen. We gave this a try on our recent trip and I recommend the experience. For further reading and more tips, I recommend reading this blog on visiting onsens when you have tattoos.

Visitors have to work to enjoy Goldmyer Hot Spring. It's a 15-mile drive on a non-maintained, unpaved Forest Service road, plus a 4.5-mile hike into the wilderness to access the springs. This long approach helps keep this hard-to-reach location in good condition.

Camping is available near the hot springs among the giant trees that define the area. Camping is considered primitive, and visitors need to pack in (and pack out) all their own supplies. Trail and road conditions to reach Goldmyer vary with the weather, and visitors should consult the official site before planning a trip.

In more recent times, a road washout closed Olympic Hot Springs Road indefinitely, disabling vehicle access to the trailhead. This means that it's now closer to a 20-mile round-trip hike or bike ride starting from near the Madison Falls Trailhead, mostly following the old road. This jump in distance has made Olympic Hot Springs a rarely visited destination and an almost guaranteed pool to have to yourself.

Gold Fork Hot Springs is perfect for families looking for a natural hot springs experience with the comforts of a permanent pool. Gold Fork has six pools of varying temperatures plus a sandy pool for the kids to enjoy. The sidewalks are also heated by the geothermal waters, making for a warm weekend getaway during a cool Idaho fall.

Located three miles north of Cambridge, Mundo Hot Springs is a one-stop-shop for road-tripping families. With a geothermal pool and hot tub, a bistro and multiple lodging options, Mundo Hot Springs is prepped and ready for a family getaway. The on-site poolhouse can sleep up to seven and allows private, after-hours access to the pool and spa, or bring your RV or tent and set up camp right outside the pool area. Campers receive discounted admission and easy access to the Weiser River Trail.

Morning: Norris Geyser Basin. Start your last day in Yellowstone with a trip to the Norris Geyser Basin. It is made up of two smaller geyser basins: Porcelain Basin and Back Basin. Unless Steamboat Geyser is predicted to erupt (which is rare), I recommend skipping the Back Basin and just exploring the Porcelain Basin.

Early Afternoon: Tower Fall. After hiking Mount Washburn, stop at the nearby viewpoint for Tower Fall. This impressive and picturesque waterfall only requires a quick visit, but it is well worth your time. The viewpoint from Tower Fall Overlook looks down upon the 132-foot cascade and is an accessible side trip. 350c69d7ab


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