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MH_FH Photographer: Matt Hage Location: Nozawa Onsen, Japan

Japan is every skier’s dream. From waking each morning to find that the mountains have been completely refreshed by constant storms blowing in from Siberia, to experiencing a level of hospitality that makes you want to be a better person. The Land of the Rising Sun is a skier’s paradise.

On our first trip to Hokkaido a couple years ago, we learned that the Japanese do après a little differently. Most nights, you could hear crickets at even the biggest ski areas after a day in the mountains. Any lively izakaya (small Japanese bar) is most likely packed with Aussies, well into their pints and raucous conversation. If you look around the bar, you won’t see many locals. They’re all getting their soak on, chin deep in their favorite onsen.

The onsen of Japan are more of a public bath house, or an indoor hot pool buried deep in a lodge or hotel. There are some outdoor onsen (roten-buro) and even what they call ‘wild’ onsen, which are more like the rock-enclosed pools we’re used to finding in the wilds of the American West. Different onsen are known for a variety of healing properties, taking care of aches, pains, and infertility.

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Matt & Agnes Hage make their home in Anchorage, Alaska and shoot pictures for a variety of outdoor brands world-wide. They look for any excuse to work hot springs and cold beer into their assignments. Check them out at www.hagephoto.com

MH_1 Photographer: Matt Hage Location: Nozawa Onsen, Japan
MH_2 Photographer: Matt Hage Location: Nozawa Onsen, Japan
MH_3 Photographer: Matt Hage Location: Nozawa Onsen, Japan
MH_5 Photographer: Matt Hage Location: Nozawa Onsen, Japan