This past weekend I visited my first Onsen (natural hot water bath) . I loved it and would highly recommend it if visiting Japan. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Take your shoes off as soon as you enter the Onsen. You should see lockers or a place for your shoes.
- There will be separate areas for men and women – watch for the signs
- Know the rules if you have a tattoo. If the Onsen caters to tourist it may be ok. Or if your tattoo is small and you can easily cover it with a band aide then it should not be an issue (this is what I did). Otherwise, look for signs to know if tattoos are allowed.
- You are naked – get over it.
- A small towel is allowed – about the size of a hand towel. You can rent one there if you want (mine was less than $1)
- Wash thoroughly before entering the Onsen. And if you have long hair, put it up before entering the bath.
- Many Onsen’s also offer a massage or scrub. I loved the scrub and found it similar to a Turkish hamman scrub. Very little feels better than feeling years of dead skin come off your body!
- Make sure you stay hydrated!
Onsen’s are believed to be healing. Regardless, they are very relaxing and usually in a beautiful setting.
Watch those around you and you will be fine!