Can renewable energy save Japan’s historic spas?
Among the oldest businesses in the world, Japan’s onsens are national treasures where guests come to enjoy the spa facilities centered around natural hot springs. There are more than 3,000 onsen inns in Japan, some of which date back more than a thousand years and have been in the same families for generations. Yet many are now being forced to close their doors. Decades of economic recession have forced many onsen owners into bankruptcy. Last year one inn closed after having operated continuously since 704, and this year the sudden decline of Chinese tourists due to the COVID-19