TOCHIGI (TR) – Following a number of complaints regarding illicit behavior, the Shiobara Hot Springs Tourism Association announced on Monday on its Web site that one resort in Nasushiobara City has shut its doors, reports the Sankei Shimbun (June 1).
Over the past year, regular complaints were lodged with the management of the Fudo no Yu hot springs and a local tourism organization about bathers repeatedly engaging in a number of lewd acts, some of which were filmed.
Fudo no Yu included an open-air bathing area that afforded an impressive view of a wooded near the Hoki River. On a typical weekend, up to 60 hot springs enthusiasts arrived to enjoy the baths.
With an entry fee of 200 yen that was paid on an honor system, Fudo no Yu generally operated without managerial supervision. It was such a policy that may have encouraged one group to regularly descend on the premises and partake in sex acts. According to news site J-cast (June 1), the participants typically included 14 or 15 middle-aged males and several young women.
Other problems included the shooting of adult videos and the taking of tosatsu (voyeur) photographs of other bathers. As reported in the Mainichi Shimbun (June 1), some of the illicit footage wound up on the Internet.
A 45-year-old businessman tells the Sankei that the problems at the resort were not limited to erotic behavior.
“Because I really like open-air baths in a mountain setting, I visited the resort several times each year with my wife,” says the man, who lives in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture. “It’s unfortunate that there have been reports of women’s underwear and purses being stolen. This is a very frustrating development for hot springs enthusiasts.”
Shigeki Tashiro, the head of the Fukuwatari neighborhood council, says that something needed to be done.
“With the resort being promoted by the prefecture as a tourist attraction, it was a tough decision,” says Tashiro. “However, if left as is, the image of the area as a tourist destination could be downgraded.”