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I doubt it is true. I’ve only been to the hot springs once, and the only Japanese people I saw were a few groups of guys who were just there to relax and enjoy themselves. I remember watching a travel show where the host and a Japanese translator were at the Fairbanks airport trying to ask Japanese tourists about it, but they laughed and thought that was funny, but had never heard of that superstition. I think they just really enjoy the northern lights, they’re incredibly pretty if you ever see them.
I think there’s a little bit of racism behind the rumor of the superstition, like, “Oh, they just fly all the way here from Japan? Probably to have sex in our hot springs, gross.” But, really, they’re just here to see the northern lights. Prolonged exposure to hot water kills sperm anyway, so I don’t see how that is supposed to be linked to fertility.
I think it’s really cute they visit in the winter. I’m always happy to see tourists here. It’s also good for the tourism industry, because most of them come in the summer, but it’s good to have some money coming in during the off season, so there’s that.