As we mentioned in our post (15 Useful Travel Tips for Japan that Everyone Should Know) you shouldn’t be afraid to get naked when you visit Japan! Onsens are a huge part of the culture. An onsen is a public bath house/hot springs where you can go to wash and relax.
Although this may sound weird to some, you should definitely try it.
However, there are certain rules to be aware of as well as tips that will maximize what you get out of this experience. Hopefully this “Ultimate Guide” can prove useful for you!
Rules to be Aware Of
Take your Clothes Off
To go into an onsen, you must be completely naked, like full birthday suit! It’s actually quite relaxing and freeing. Like we keep saying, “don’t be afraid to get naked”!
Lots of onsens will not allow you to enter if you have tattoos. Japan is very strict when it comes to tattoos as they are often associated with gangs and that lifestyle.
However, if you just have one small one on your foot or something, you’ll probably be fine.
Tie Your Hair Up
This one applies mostly to girls (long haired dudes too!). This is so that your hair doesn’t go in the water, keeping the onsen clean and hygienic.
Keep an Eye on Your Kids
Onsens are not swimming pools. Kids aren’t allowed to play and splash around. This can be quite weird and annoying for other naked strangers!
Don’t Wash in the Bath
There are individual showers where you can wash before entering the pool.
Respect the Space of Others
Try not to get in the way of others, especially when it’s busy. No one wants to be clambering over piles of naked bodies on their way to the shower!
Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Experience
What to Bring
I like to bring shampoo and shower gel/body soap. Every onsen has individual shower stations so I always like to bring this stuff to get extra clean. I also bring face wash as well as a bonus.
Another good thing to bring is a razor. It’s very common for people to shave in an onsen.
One more thing I like to bring with me is a small face towel. Now, obviously, you’ll bring a proper towel to dry yourself off afterward but I also like to bring a smaller one in with me. It’s often nice to soak this in cold water then just rest it on your head while you’re in the hot pool.
Try Out the Cold Pool
Some onsens – as well as having hot pools – will have ice cold tubs also. This can be a really nice contrast, especially if you feel yourself getting too warm. They’re also really good for your muscles if you’ve had a hard sesh at the gym or something.
There are Saunas too
Yeah, there are often saunas as well! What I often like doing is shower followed by the hot pool, cold pool, sauna then cold shower.
After finishing this, you feel so relaxed, almost high in a way!
Hopefully, you guys can take this info and use it to fully enjoy your onsen experience.
The Gaijin Crew
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