Your trip to Japan would not be complete if you missed dipping your body in a Japanese onsen. Onsens in Japan are natural hot springs fueled by volcanic activity. As a volcanically active country, Japan has thousands of onsen all throughout. The culture of onsens has been with the Japanese people since 700 A.D. Due to its long history, the onsens have evolved in many ways. Some of the onsens are now being distinguished amongst other onsens due to its mineral contents. These mineral contents are proven beneficial to one’s body. It not only boosts calming and soothing effect on our body, moreover its health benefits. Onsens also has various settings. One can enjoy it indoors, outdoors in a traditional or a modern setting.
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Good manners are essential to Japanese people. Thus, it is highly recommended that you should practice basic courtesy upon entering any Japanese facility.
Here’s a guide before you enter a Japanese onsen
While the traditional Japanese culture is to go into an onsen completely naked, if you are not up to it, you can select a private onsen that you can enjoy alone without being conscious of displaying your body bare.
Wash your body first before dipping. Soap, shampoo and conditioner are provided in the shower room. It is best if you sit at the stools when washing rather than standing up to prevent splashing other people near you.
Large towels are prohibited when dipping. Most onsens provide a large and a small towel. The small towel is for washing therefore you can take it with you, however, the large towel is for drying, so you must leave it in the changing room.
Hairs are strictly not allowed when dipping. It is not customary to place your head under water as you might leave hairs around and being underwater could increase any possibility of catching something. For people with long hair, they should wear it in a bun or wrap their hair in a small towel.
Drinking alcohol too much before onsen is not allowed. If you have too much of a drink, you must not go to an onsen. The water’s temperature is not healthy for a drunk person.
Tattoos in some onsens are not allowed. Though there are onsens that allow people with tattoos to enter, you still have to consult first with the establishment if they allow so.
Finally, the onsen is a place where you can relax. If a chit chat relaxes you, make sure you keep it down a notch so as not to disturb other people, unless you are in a private onsen.
Best Onsens in Japan
One of the most famous onsens in Japan as it’s said to cure every illness but loves sickness. This onsen is supplied with large volumes of hot water with tens of baths. You can visit multiple hot springs free of admission fees as it is managed by the city or the community. A number of resorts and inns are also available, as well as shops and cafes. They are also offering skiing in the winter and hiking during summer.
One of the most famous onsen resorts around Tokyo as it is located less than two hours from Tokyo. This onsen offers soothing baths and the boiling sulfur springs of Owakudani Valley. You can also visit numerous souvenir shops. And don’t miss the beautiful Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, and one of the most iconic views of Mount Fuji as well as many shrines when visiting this place.
Yufuin Onsen contains a wide range of traditional ryokan and modern hotels. This one’s most prominent vista is that of the twin peaks of Mount Yufu. You can drink the water at some of the hot springs as Yufuin Hot Springs are known to be beneficial for neuralgia, myalgia, arthritis, and fatigue.
Want to be with nature? This onsen is best for you. With nature all around, beautiful wooden buildings and open-air baths make this a very sought-after location for onsen. The springs in this area are said to be beneficial for nerve pain.
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