How to Onsen in Japan

Your guide to using a hot spring in Japan. Learn how to onsen the Japanese way. Rules to enjoy the onsen, the traditional Japanese hot spring and that has been enjoyed for centuries, an truly unique Japanese experience

Sengokuhara Prince Hotel in Hakone

How to Enjoy an Onsen

Japan is a country blessed with a wonderful geological gift, the onsen. There are over 3600 hot springs across the county. The Hakone area has 13 distinct water types. The properties, temperature, and benefits of the waters differ greatly. Hakone is considered a hot spring them park for your ability to experience and try different places and views. When you get to your bath of choice here is a guide to how to use the public onsen:

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Basic Onsen Rules

  1. Completely undress in the locker room before entering the bathing area.

  2. Wash your body completely before entering the shared bath. Don`t bath in the shared baths. Rinse off any soap before entering

  1. Don`t put your towel or anything above your neck into the water.

  2. Respect the tranquility and calm of the onsen experience. Understand that this is a time to relax. Speak quietly.

  3. Soak, heat up, get out, cool down, get in, repeat. There are many different ways to enjoy your time in the hot springs.

  4. Dry off your body after bathing and before entering the locker room.

  5. Enjoy and relax. This is a wonderful piece of Japanese culture treasured for centuries.

Yusakaso Onsen in Hakone

There will usually be a place to remove your in house slippers before entering the changing room

After undressing and placing your belongings in a locker or basket you are ready to enter the bathing area. Do not bring your large bath towel with you.You should be provided with a small white bathing towel that you can use to wash your body, hide your bits, and dry yourself off. Shampoo and soap are usually provided in the shower areas, but feel free to bring your own.

Wash your body and hair before entering the waters. In Japan, you should thoroughly clean your body out of respect to the cleanliness of the water and the bathers who will follow you. Use your small white towel to scrub really well.

Rinse your entire body completely before entering the tub. If you have long hair, tie it up now. You should not let your hair or white bathing towel touch the bathwater.

Bathe slowly. There are no written rules, but just know it is not a pool. Japanese baths may be hotter than you are accustomed to, so use caution and follow You may want to start by lowering half your body into the water in order to adjust to the temperature. Many people in Japan say you should not stay in for longer than thirty minutes at a time because it increases your risk of fainting. Many people fold the small white Onset towel and place it on their heads to help keep it cool. If you start to feel lightheaded, get out of the water slowly and take a moment to sit before getting a drink or splashing cool water on your body.

Before leaving the bathing area, wipe as much moisture as possible off your body with the Onset towel so you don’t drip too much water onto the floor of the changing room.

Hakone Tenseien Onsen