A Comparative Study of Japanese and Taiwanese Perceptions of Hot Springs

A Comparative Study of Japanese and Taiwanese Perceptions of Hot Springs

I-Chun Liu (Yuan Ze University, Taiwan) and Chii-Ching Chen (Kainan University, Taiwan)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8577-2.ch010
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Abstract

Taiwan and Japan has an abundance of hot springs; therefore, many people living there believe that hot springs are effective for healing numerous diseases although contemporary medicine failed to prove their medical efficacy. Researchers have expended considerable effort examining the medical aspect of these tourist destinations, but few have investigated the tourists' perceptions of hot spring destinations. Researchers are increasingly recognizing culture as a source of variation in numerous phenomena of central importance to consumer research. Culture has a strong impact on customers' perceptions of hot springs. This paper provides a review of several studies that have compared Japanese and Taiwanese perceptions of hot springs with a focus on balneology and consumer research, the characteristics of hot springs in Japan and Taiwan, and relevant empirical findings. Finally, this paper addresses several theoretical issues, suggests directions for future research, and discusses managerial implications.
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Background

As a volcanically active country, Japan boasts some of the best natural hot springs in the world. Japan’s famous hot spring resorts are also fuelling the interests of leisure seekers and entrepreneurs. The therapeutic benefits surrounding hot springs have been used in more recent history to incentivize hot spring visitation, and potential patrons are starting to use the scientifically-validated curative properties of specific hot spring waters as a factor in determining which springs to frequent.

As another famous place with hot springs in Asia that is located next to an oceanic trench and volcanic system in a tectonic collision zone, Taiwan has a unique environment that produces high-temperature springs with crystal-clear water that is usually both clean and safe to drink. Taiwan is highly rich in precious hot spring resources and is in fifteenth place in the world for the number of hot springs it has. In Taiwan, hot spring culture is more than a century old. Its development dates back to 1893 when a German businessperson discovered hot springs there and set up a spa (Her, 2005). The culture of hot springs started to spread across the island during the 50-year Japanese occupation. To relieve stress in life, people engaged in outdoor activities such as going to hot springs, which had the potential to become a star tourist attraction because of its power to encourage physical and mental recuperation.

Taiwan and Japan has an abundance of hot springs; therefore, many people living there believe that hot springs are effective for healing numerous diseases although contemporary medicine failed to prove their medical efficacy. Because soaking in a hot spring is said to offer multiple health benefits, hot springs attract both regular vacationers and those with physical complaints. Researchers have expended considerable effort examining the medical aspect of these tourist destinations, but few have investigated the tourists’ perceptions of hot spring destinations. This paper provides a review of several studies that have compared Japanese and Taiwanese consumer perceptions of hot springs to understand different perceptions of hot springs and their effects.

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