How to take a bath in Japanese hot springs without embarrassment!
You sometimes make an embarrassing or discourteous mistake when you try something new with having no clue of what to do in foreign countries. Here are tips for Japanese onsen (hot springs) to save you from icy stares.
Jul 14 2014 (Sep 09 2020)
Since Japan has many volcanic mountains, there are a lot of hot springs all over Japan.
Hot springs are distinguished by the minerals dissolved in the water. Different minerals provide different health benefits, and all hot springs are supposed to have a relaxing effect on your body and mind.
Firstly, you buy a ticket (unless you are staying at a hotel where you can go to hot spring for free) and present it to a staff at a counter. Then, the staff will give you rental towels and/or a locker key if there is any available.
Once passing the counter, you will go to your bath which is separated for men and women. Therefore, you want to be careful which one to go when entering.Sometimes, it's written which one is yours in English, but there are still many hot springs which you only need to guess by the color of Noren like a curtain at the door.
The bath you entered the day before might be reserved for the opposite sex the following day.
In Changing Room
Many changing rooms have lockers. On the other hand, there are chances that you may come across a changing room with only baskets. (If coin lockers are available at the counter, it's better to use them)
In Japan, people don't wear clothes in hot springs, so it might give you a shock when you first experience going to the hot springs.
Once you are ready, take your washing stuff and face towel (not a bath towel) inside of the hot spring.
In a bath
Before going to bath tubs, you need to wash with the showers. When using the shower, just be careful not to spray people sitting around you.
Now you can enter the water slowly (not diving or jumping).
One thing you need to remember is not to dip, wash or wring your towel.
You can put the towel on your head or the side of the tub.
Sauna is also provided in many hot springs. It's good for your health and skin.
Before entering sauna, wipe your body properly and you can wrap your body with the towel.
When you go back to the water, you need to rinse your sweat first.
People with tattoos are prohibited from entering hot springs, mainly public baths, so people with tattoos can enjoy hot springs by going to a private bath which you pay or booking a room with a hot spring bath.
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.