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Japan may be a small country in terms of area, but it certainly makes up for it with 47 distinct prefectures that have their own vibrant personalities. Prefectures like Tokyo and Osaka dominate with their big city lifestyles, while Kyoto and Nara rely on their richly preserved history. Some have festivals that have survived for hundreds of years, others have geological formations that make them stand out or new attractions that you can’t find anywhere else.

For prefectures to separate themselves from the rest and showcase what makes them special, they have to do something grand. In Oita Prefecture, this means presenting their world-famous hot springs with a synchronized swimming team in what can only be known as “synchronized bathing”.

Oita is one of the nine prefectures that make up the island of Kyushu and is most famous in Japan for its diversified selection of natural hot springs, or onsen. People around the country travel to Oita and soak in water that is heated by volcanic activity. To show off a number of their its best onsen, Oita recruited the help of a professional synchronized swim team. You’ve definitely never seen hot springs enjoyed quite like this.

The women travel all over the prefecture, stopping at all styles and kinds of hot springs. This includes a visit to Oita’s famous sand baths and mud baths in Beppu.

▼ Usually you’re supposed to lie still in the sand…

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▼ This may look dirty, but it’s extremely good for your skin.

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Soaking in a hot spring is good for the body and each onsen usually has a specific malady that it is effective at curing. So planning a trip to visit each of these marvelous locations would certainly be good for your health, body and skin. It’s also a tremendous way to experience a bit of Japanese culture and see some amazing views.

▼ Properly prepare yourself.

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▼ A quintessential Japanese feel

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▼ Get away from the hustle and bustle of the city here.

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▼ Take a bath right on the river.

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▼ Enjoy an onsen with this kind of sunset? Yes, please!

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If you plan a vacation to Oita, it would be silly not to jam-pack your schedule with a number of amazing onsen. You can even visit “hell on earth” or the “jigoku” which are eight colorful hot springs for viewing in Beppu city. Just like you wouldn’t enter a hot spring in hell, you won’t be able to bathe in these ones, but it’s nice to say you’ve been to hell and back.

No matter if you are looking for relaxing baths or epic scenic views, Oita Prefecture is certainly an incredible destination for anyone in Japan to visit…or to practice your synchronized bathing. We believe the Japanese Olympic Committee should draft a proposal to debut the sport at the 2020 Olympics.

Source, images: YouTube/onsenkenoita