Onsen, or hot springs, are one of Japan’s most popular tourist attractions. With its therapeutic hot springs, lush scenery, and tranquility, it’s no wonder why so many tourists flock to this country to enjoy the onsen experience. But while onsen are an enjoyable and relaxing experience, it is important to remember that there are certain rules and etiquette that should be followed to ensure the comfort and safety of all visitors.

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What is Onsen?

An onsen is a type of hot spring that is heated naturally by geothermal activity underneath the earth’s surface. Onsen water is usually high in mineral content, which can provide health benefits such as soothing muscle aches and improving skin tone.

Onsen Etiquette

Before Entering

Dont forget to take a shower before entering the onsen!

Before you jump in and enjoy the benefits of onsen, make sure you familiarize yourself with the proper onsen etiquette. Be sure to check the signs for the gender-separated areas and don’t forget to shower before entering for hygiene reasons. Additionally, many onsen have a tattoo ban, so if you have visible tattoos, it’s best to check with the staff before entering.

Before entering the onsen, it is important to make sure that you have followed the appropriate bathing rules. This includes showering thoroughly before entering the onsen, washing yourself withthe provided soap and rinsing off completely. It is also important to not bring any soap or shampoo into the onsen.


When visiting an onsen, it is important to remember that clothing is not allowed in most of the hot spring. This means that you must enter the onsen completely nude. If you are uncomfortable with this, some onsen may provide a “modesty towel” that can be used to cover yourself while entering and exiting the onsen.


It is important to remember to remain quiet and respectful while in the onsen. Loud conversations, splashing and running are not allowed. It is also important to avoid staring at other guests and to keep your eyes to yourself.

Where Can I Experience an Onsen?

Fortunately, it has never been easier to find and book an onsen experience.

First, look for hotels and ryokans (traditional style Japanese inn) that offer onsen access. Many hotels in popular tourist areas such as Kyoto and Tokyo will have onsen facilities. You can also book a local tour and look for onsen experiences online. If you are looking for a more rustic experience, then you can find remote onsen located in the countryside. Here you go some suggestions that may suit your needs.

Private onsen in your room

Hotel Room with Private Onsen and view of Mount Fuji. (Source: Agoda)

If you have tattoos or are not comfortable taking off your clothing in public, book a hotel with a private onsen experience. You can enjoy the amazing scenery of Mount Fuji while relaxing in the mineral-rich hot springs in your room. Get the best of Japanese onsen culture and make the most of your onsen experience.

Onsen Tour in Japan

The largest Onsen Theme Park in Osaka (Source: Klook)

Experience the best of Japanese onsen culture at the largest onsen theme park in Osaka! Spanning over 3,000 m2 of land, relax in foot baths and 9 different bath types including outdoor baths filled with pure hot spring water. For families, there are 10 private outdoor baths with their own mini-gardens. Get close to 30 services from traditional Japanese body care to modern beauty treatments complete your experience. Don’t forget to try the delicious food at Nawamoren (izakaya) and Kakuchi (standing bar)! Don’t miss out on this amazing onsen tour!

Bottom Line

These are some of the basic onsen etiquette rules that should be kept in mind when visiting an onsen in Japan. It is important to remember that these rules help to ensure the safety and comfort of all visitors, and help to keep the onsen as a peaceful and tranquil environment. So be sure to keep these etiquette guidelines in mind when visiting a Japanese onsen, and enjoy the experience to the fullest.

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