The father and the son visit the small hot-spring resort to spend a weekend.
From what I can gather, the location is Shiobara Onsen in Tochigi prefecture. I was not able to identify the exact location of the inn and the hot spa. In any case, the visit to a hot-spring resort plays a pivotal role in Ozu’s films. For example, in “The Flavor of Rice Over Green Tea”, Taeko and her friends visit the (very expensive and luxurious) hot-spring resort in Shuzenji and have fun. In “Tokyo Story”, the resort is the least pleasant place for the elderly couple.
Japanese love hot-spring resorts (Onsen), especially when they provide tranquility, good food and relaxation. There are probably hundreds of “Guide to hot-spring resorts” shows on TV every year (quick consult on TV schedule for major networks tells me more than four such shows in this week only), numerous travel guidebooks and thousands of tour packages. The volcanic nature of the land provides more than ample number of such hot springs with a variety of minerals as “healing ingredients”. Some of the resorts are located in remote areas, requiring many hours of travel from major cities. This, in turn, creates a sort of “Shangri-La” atmosphere, appealing to many connoisseurs of the Onsen. Other Japanese filmmakers also stage their drama in such resorts to create the distance from the society. In Naruse’s “Floating Clouds”, Ikaho Onsen provides the mechanisms to play out the story of sex, jealousy and ego. The resort in the mountains, distant from Tokyo, liberated the mind of the kept woman, only to end in miserable loneliness in Hiroshi Shimizu’s “Kanzashi”.