No reverse psychology here, just some straightforward, heartwarming compassion.

The city of Beppu, in Oita Prefecture on Japan’s southwest island of Kyushu, is pretty much all about hot springs (or onsen, as they’re called in Japanese). Not only does the town boast dozens of onsen inns, it’s gone so far as to create an entire onsen amusement park.

Of course, Beppu isn’t the only hot spring resort in Japan. For travelers on the main island of Honshu, especially those coming from the Tokyo area, Gunma Prefecture’s Kusatsu has been a popular getaway location for generations, with relaxing baths and gorgeous mountain surroundings. So when an ad appeared in the Nishi Nippon Shimbun, Kyushu’s biggest regional newspaper, boldly saying “Right now, instead of Beppu, let’s go to Kusatsu,” most people would initially assume it was an advertisement paid for by the Kusatsu tourism board.

▼ White text: “Right now, instead of Beppu, let’s go to Kusatsu.”

And yes, the photograph in the ad does indeed show Kusatsu’s traditional method for preparing bathwater. Underneath the photo, though, things start to get strange.

The text circled in yellow reads “You’re our rival, so you need to stay strong.” But wait, if Kusatsu is the “rival” here, then who paid for the ad?

The city of Beppu.

Yes, Beppu and Kusatsu are competitors, seeing as how they both want to attract visitors to their hot springs. Well, usually they both want to attract visitors. Right now, though, Beppu is more concerned about how Kusatsu is coping with the aftermath of the recent volcanic eruption of Mount Kusatsu-Shirane, which occurred on January 23 and resulted in the death of a Japanese Self-Defense Forces member who used his own body as a shield to protect his subordinates from harm.

The town of Kusatsu suffered no damage in the eruption, and its hot springs are operating as normal. However, Beppu realizes that many people might be feeling skittish about traveling to Kusatsu, and wants to help spread the word that Kusatsu’s baths and inns are standing by and ready to receive visitors.

This isn’t the only counter-intuitive advertisement to show up in Japan recently, but this kind showing of fraternal hot spring support is definitely the most heartwarming.

Related: Kusatsu official website, Beppu official website
Sources: Twitter/@ulovekusatsu, Twitter/@hotel_ichii
Top image: Beppu City
Insert images ©SoraNews24
[ Read in Japanese ]

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he could go for an onsen soak right about now.

[ Read in Japanese ]