Two hours along winding mountain roads from the capital city of San Jose lies a jungle oasis at the base of a protruding volcano. The clouds linger around the top, casting bright rays down across the valley. After a red-eye flight and a long drive, my body was itching with the anticipation of experiencing naturally warm, crystal clear hot springs.
Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari is a hot springs spa theme park styled after an Edo-era town center. Once you walk through the doors and sign in at the front desk, it’s time to move through the magic time travel curtains. You find yourself transported back in time to a festival evening — stars in the sky and colorful lanterns all aglow. You find small shops, food vendors, a variety of spa services, and, most importantly, the entrances to gender separated hot baths of all kinds.