With the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Movement Control Order (MCO), traveling to a local hot spring is a big no-no. Much less traveling to Japan for one of the famous ones. But fret not, you can still give yourself the hot spring experience at home, kind of, using VR.
A number of Japanese inn owners have uploaded VR footage of their hot springs to YouTube. So far, five inns have done so, in what is dubbed the Arima Hot Spring Baths VR Tour. More inns are expected to upload footage from their hot springs as part of the project. Three more are already on the way as part of the “second broadcast edition”.
All you need to do to experience the Arima hot springs at home is to soak in your bath tub, with any of the hot spring’s footage playing through your VR headset. Naturally, you’ll have to be careful that your headset doesn’t make an accidental dive into your tub. And you still probably won’t be able to soak in it for as long as a real one without your headset fogging up.
It’s an interesting initiative, to be sure. And there are many potential advantages to be had. For one, it’s a creative gesture of good will, especially when utilising VR this way. Also, and more likely, this serves as a promotion of sorts, so that those who view it would develop an interest in visiting for themselves when all this blows over.