Monday, September 27, 2010

Arima Onsen — Golden spring colorations

Iron from the hot spring colours everything

Arima, just outside Kobe, is an entire city dedicated to the industry of bathing in their hot springs. It's one of the Three Classical Onsen sites, going back to the 7th century, and is famous for the two springs: 金泉 (kin-sen, golden spring) and 銀泉 (gin-sen, silver spring).

The silver spring has slightly radioactive water, and alas we chose not to expose ourselves to this. The golden spring has water very rich in iron salts. Rich enough, in fact, that the water is a deep orange, and opaque enough that you can only see a few centimeters deep in it. Rich enough, even, that the entire city is coloured a kind of reddish orange from deposits from the hot water — cooled down to a mere scalding 42º before you'd bathe in it.

This photo was taken just outside a shrine with a water container dedicated to the hot spring; a shrine where everything was caked with salt and brightly orange with iron, all over.

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