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Travel & Leisure

Saunas turn up the heat for local economies in Japan

Companies look to warm-air baths to deepen ties with employees, clients

In Hokuto, Yamanashi prefecture, a cool dip after a visit to the sauna is popular with visitors.

TOKYO/KOFU, Japan/NAGANO, Japan -- Saunas are hot in Japan, both literally and figuratively, with many cities coming up with sauna tours called satabi and special sauna meals, or sameshi, to attract visitors.

Meanwhile, companies are finding the warm-air baths ideal for forging business ties. Forget wining and dining, bring on the stripping and sweating.

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