How to take Onsen

Japan's fascinating culture "hot springs". Hot springs are public places, not private spaces like your bathroom at home. Manners and compassion are important in hot springs, and if you act in a way that is a nuisance to others, your relaxing space will be ruined. By learning manners, you can use the hot springs comfortably. In this article, we will explain other precautions before and after bathing in hot springs. Let's learn the manners of hot spring culture and enjoy the hot springs comfortably.

Before bathing

First, we will explain the procedure and points to enter the hot spring. When using a hot spring for the first time, the points to keep in mind are the price, the identification of men's and women's baths, and the management of valuables. These are very important things to know before using the hot springs. Check the order in which you use the hot springs and be prepared to use them smoothly.

Payment(bathing fee, towels, etc.)

In order to use the hot springs, it is necessary to pay the fee at the reception and issue a ticket for the hot springs at the ticket vending machine. Some facilities accept credit cards or electronic money, while others accept cash only, and the payment method varies depending on the facility. If you have decided which facility you want to use, it is important to check the available fee forms from the official website.

You can also rent or purchase amenities, so if you need anything, check the site. If you are particular about equipment such as face wash, towels, and razors, it is recommended that you prepare them in advance. If you have long hair, you will need to tie your hair together when bathing, so bring a hair elastic with you. In addition, it is convenient to prepare a bag for a change of clothes.

Men's bath, women's bath and mixed bath

After paying the fee for using the hot spring, you will move to the dressing room. The dressing room is basically divided into men's and women's baths, and can be identified by the color and letters of the goodwill. In the case of men's baths, blue or dark blue is often used, and there is a notation of the kanji for "man" and "MEN".

On the other hand, in the case of women's baths, red and pink colors are used for goodwill, and there are notations such as "woman" and "WOMEN". In Japan, it is common for men to think of blue and women as red. Colors and shapes for gender vary from country to country, so be sure to check carefully before entering the dressing room.

If you enter the room by mistake, it may become a problem or you may be charged with a crime, so it is a point that you need to be aware of. In addition, there are facilities that swap the men's and women's baths depending on the time and date, so do not neglect to check because they are the same facility.

In addition, there are mixed bathing facilities in the hot springs. In mixed bathing in Japan, there are various rules depending on the facility, such as wearing towels and special clothing, and not staring at other people's bodies. If you want to take a bath in a mixed hot spring, check the rules with the facility before using it.

Dressing room

When you enter the dressing room of the men's or women's bath, find a place to change clothes and put your belongings. Lockers and shelves are generally installed in the dressing room where you can put your own luggage. If you have a basket on a shelf, use one that is upside down. This upside-down basket can be used as a sign that no one is using it. To use it, turn the basket upside down and put clothes and other items in it. If you have valuables in your personal belongings, use the locker room or a coin locker with a key in the facility.

Also, when using lockers and baskets, it is important to keep your clothes tidy. Especially when putting clothes and other luggage in the basket, there is no door, so it can be seen by others. Clothes and luggage placed haphazardly will not make a good impression on others, so fold your clothes and place a towel to use after bathing. Keeping your luggage in order in this way is also one of the important manners of hot springs.

While taking bath

After taking off your clothes in the dressing room and putting your belongings in order, head to the bathhouse. Basically, I bring a hand towel to the bathhouse. This hand towel can be used in all aspects of hot springs, such as wiping your body when returning to the dressing room from the bathhouse after enjoying the hot spring, or laying it on your own sitting place in the sauna.

Hand towels are also necessary to protect privacy, such as body parts in the bathhouse. In addition, if you have long hair, tie it using a hair elastic before bathing. It is unhygienic if your hair gets soaked in a bathtub that many people can enter, so it is important for both parties to know manners so that others do not get offended.

Go into bath

Next, we will introduce manners, procedures, and points during bathing. Manners are important while bathing, but it is also important to manage your physical condition. If you take a bath in a state of poor health, you may collapse in the bathhouse and cause trouble to others. Many hot springs in Japan have high temperatures, so be careful if you are not used to them. In order not to surprise your body, get used to the hot springs little by little and prepare for relaxation.

Washing body and pouring hot water

Before soaking in the hot springs, it is necessary to wash your body and pour hot water. Kakeyu is the act of scooping hot spring water in a tub to remove dirt from the body. In addition, the hot spring not only removes dirt, but also has the effect of gradually getting the body used to the high temperature of the hot spring. If you bathe in a hot spring without splashing water, in addition to polluting the water, it will cause your body to surprise and worsen your physical condition. This hot spring can be said to be a reasonable manner of hot spring culture.

It is also recommended to wash your body and hair before soaking in the hot springs. By keeping your body clean first, you can warm up your body in the shower and enjoy the hot spring without worry. The washing area with a shower is also a shared space, so we will try to act considerately. When cleaning the body, it is important to take care of each other, such as not splashing water on other people, and rinsing the tub or chair after use and returning it to its original position.

 half-body baths and split baths

It is important to take care of your physical condition when soaking in hot springs. If you neglect to take care of your physical condition, you will cause trouble to others. On top of that, what you need to know is a half-body bath and a split bath. A half-body bath is a bathing method in which you sit in a bathtub and warm the area from the area around the solar plexus to the bottom with hot water. Half-body baths are said to be good for health, and the rise in body temperature slows down.

In addition, half-body baths are said to be less burdensome to the body and have a relaxing effect. Until you get used to the hot springs of Japan, which have high temperatures, it is recommended that you actively take a half-body bath and take a bath without overdoing it.

What we would like you to incorporate along with the half-body bath is a bathing method called a split bath. Split bathing is a bathing method in which you soak in hot water multiple times with breaks in between. Soaking in hot water for a long time puts a strain on the body and leads to poor health. The correct way to take a split bath is to take a bath for 3 to 5 minutes, then take a break for a few minutes and do it for 3 sets. By taking appropriate breaks, the burden on the body is reduced, and the water does not cool down easily and you can enjoy the hot spring for a long time. Also, while soaking in the hot springs, you sweat more than you think. It is important to drink water frequently to avoid dehydration.

How to use towel

As a matter of etiquette while bathing, you should not wear a towel brought into the bathhouse. Towels are generally used to wash and wipe the body. If you put the towel in the bathtub, the clean water will be contaminated with dirt and dirt from washing your body. Even if it's a clean towel that isn't in use, others won't know it. In order not to make the person who shares the bathtub with you feel uncomfortable, it is good manners not to put the towel you brought in in the bathtub.」

When soaking in the bathtub, wring out a towel and placing it on top of your head. The act of placing a towel on your head has the effect of dissipating heat and preventing hot flashes. If you feel that you don't need it, leave it near the bathtub in a place where it will not disturb others.

After bathing

After bathing in the hot springs, it is also important to wipe off the moisture from the body and rest well when returning to the dressing room. Here, we will introduce points to keep in mind after bathing and manners to wear. Even after enjoying the hot springs, observe manners in public places and use the facilities comfortably.

Wiping body

When returning to the dressing room after enjoying the hot spring, it is common etiquette to wipe off the moisture from the body before returning. If you return to the dressing room without wiping your body, the floor will get wet and there is a risk of falling. If someone else steps on the part you wet and falls, the hot spring that you enjoyed will be ruined. In order not to cause trouble to others, wipe your body thoroughly before returning to the dressing room and try to behave in good manners.


It is also important to rest your body after bathing in the hot springs and rest for a short time. It is desirable to take a break for about 30 minutes after bathing. When you enter a hot spring, the water pressure and high spring temperature consume more physical strength than you think. You can reduce the burden by taking breaks until your blood pressure and pulse stabilize and allowing your body to rest. It can also cause dehydration after bathing, so make sure you drink a glass of water after leaving the hot spring.

Other things to keep in mind

Check if tattoos are prohibited

Some hot springs in Japan prohibit tattoos. If you have a tattoo, you need to contact the hot spring facility you want to bathe in advance to see if you can take a bath. However, in recent years, this trend has been changing, and the number of hot spring facilities where you can bathe is gradually increasing. There are also spas that are committed to embracing cultural and religious ideas, such as facilities where you can bathe with a cover sticker that hides your tattoos.

Also, I mentioned that many hot springs prohibit tattoos, but when it comes to public baths, there tend to be many facilities where you can take a bath. Unlike naturally gushing hot springs, public baths are facilities that handle artificially boiled water, and are cheaper and easier to use than hot springs. Public baths may also refuse to bathe people with tattoos, so if you are worried, please contact us in advance.

Swimsuits and slippers are prohibited

Wearing swimsuits and slippers is generally prohibited in hot springs. Some hot spring facilities allow you to wear swimsuits, such as mixed bathing hot springs. If you are concerned about privacy and want to wear a swimsuit when using the hot springs, check with the facility once.

Basically, in the hot springs, you bring a towel to protect your privacy after taking off your clothes. However, some people may not feel comfortable taking off their clothes in public. In that case, it is recommended that you first get used to a private bath where your privacy is protected.

The use of smartphones and mobile phones is prohibited

In the dressing rooms and bathhouses of the facility, the use of smartphones and mobile phones is basically prohibited. Many people have to take off their clothes and protect their privacy in places where they can enjoy hot springs. In addition, it is prohibited to bring in devices with camera functions, not limited to smartphones and mobile phones.

Some of the hot springs may be places that you want to photograph, such as facilities with wonderful interiors and open-air baths with beautiful scenery. However, please suppress your feelings and respect Japan culture, observe manners and enjoy the hot springs. Please note that even if the bathhouse or dressing room is uninhabited, it may be voyeurism if you take a picture without permission from the facility.

There may be no restroom in the dressing room

The dressing room of the hot spring may not have a restroom attached to it. Before soaking in the hot springs, make sure you use the restroom in advance so that you can take a relaxing bath. If you want to go to the restroom while bathing, you can use the dressing room or the restroom in the facility. If it is attached to the dressing room, wipe off the moisture from your body, use the restroom, and when you return to the bathhouse, clean your body before taking a bath.

Do not bathe if you are not feeling well

If you are not feeling well, drinking alcohol, or are menstruating, refrain from bathing in hot springs. If you soak in a hot spring when you are not feeling well, it will put a heavy burden on your body and your physical condition will deteriorate. In particular, you need to be careful about hot springs after drinking, and various risks can be considered. The main risk is that it can cause cerebral anemia, which is very dangerous. If you fall down in the bathhouse, you may not only cause trouble to others, but you may also hit your head hard. Since there are individual differences in the breakdown of alcohol, take action that takes into account the burden on the body, such as taking a shower after drinking.

In addition, it is better to refrain from bathing during menstruation. During the period of menstruation, the immune system is weakened due to the influence of hormones, and there is a risk of causing infections. It can also cause anemia and dehydration, so refrain from bathing and limit yourself to showering only.

Drink water before and after bathing

Be sure to stay hydrated before, during, and after bathing. If you don't stay hydrated, you run the risk of hot flashes, dehydration, and collapsing in the bathhouse. Also, if you don't hydrate, it may cause hot water irritation. If it causes hot water exposure, it will cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, and other physical ailments. The main cause of hot water is that the quality of the hot spring is not suitable for the body, but hydration can lead to prevention. In this way, you will lose more water than you feel while bathing, so it is important to drink water regularly even if you are not thirsty.

Do not wash your body and face in the bathtub

When sharing a bathtub with others, it is good manners to always clean your body before bathing. If you wash your face and body in the hot spring, the inside of the bathtub will become dirty. In order not to make others uncomfortable, wash your body in the washing area before bathing and follow the etiquette of bathing in a clean state.

Running and swimming are prohibited