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Hard week? Relax in this onsen in virtual reality!

In these times of crisis linked to Covid-19, we are trying to save furniture in Japan. A local spa has leveraged technology to develop a new type of relaxation experience. This allows you to immerse yourself in an onsen in virtual reality.

An onsen in VR

Some virtual reality (VR) experiences allow you to relax . In 2017 in France, the Commissariat for Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies (CEA) unveiled a helmet called Relax. This is based on relaxation techniques in connection with what is called neurofeedback. It is a therapeutic technique derived from the science of modeling brain cells and neurons. The goal? Help the user to meditate.

The article published by The Mainichi April 19, 2020 also evokes an experience of relaxation. However, this one is much simpler since it involves immersing the user in an onsen (Japanese hot spring bath). This initiative was born in Arima Onsen, a hot spring town located in western Japan, near Kobe.

The user simply needs to fill their tub and sit in it before placing the VR headset on their head. According to the Japanese daily, the experience of a duration 20 minutes may seem silly at first. However, this would indeed be effective because when the user gets out of the bath, the latter is completely relaxed. The quality of the images, the rustling of the water and the zen environment would allow this relaxation.

Hard week? Relax in this onsen in virtual reality!

Adapting to the current crisis

As Japan has been placed on lockdown after declaring a state of emergency, most hostels in the city of Arima Onsen have closed their doors. Likewise, air traffic is at a standstill and most borders are closed to tourists. However, the economy of the place was based on the arrival of foreign tourists.

“We would like to increase the number of facilities participating in the project and provide the world with the healing power of Arima hot springs” said Kazushige Kanai, manager of one of Arima Onsen's hostels.

While the city is desperately orphaned by its tourists, this virtual reality onsen experience helps to keep a certain global visibility thanks to YouTube. Moreover, these are free experiences based on volunteering.

Here is a preview of one of these onsen VR experiences before the video series was published: