I recently went to visit a friend in Okayama. Okayama is about 3 1/2 hours south from Tokyo by way of the “Shinkansen”(Bullet Train). The town that he lives in is “勝央町” (Shoo-Cho), which is supposedly where Kintaro (a famous Japanese folk hero) died. During my trip, I got to see a completely different side of Japan filled with mountains, rivers and countryside. The highlight of my trip was experiencing my first “rotenburo” or outdoor hot springs. Although I was initially hesitant, I quickly realized how amazing these hot springs are. There was nothing more relaxing than enjoying the outdoors in a natural spa. I can’t wait to try it again. Here are some pictures from my trip.