How to bathe in Japan's Hot Springs

Bathing hot springs like hot spring, sento is undoubtedly one of the places very sought after by tourists and highly valued by the Japanese. Inexperienced people may have difficulties if it is the first time in the bathroom or the spa. There are some rules on how to act inside an onsen or sento. For that we created this article giving some tips and tutorials on how to perform this bath without embarrassing yourself.

You hot spring (温泉) are natural volcanic hot springs that are appreciated and help to relax, bringing numerous health benefits. We have previously written an article talking in detail about the Onsen in Japan.

Basic rules for entering an onsen

There are some basic rules to follow inside an onsen:

  • Should wash the body before entering the water;
  • Do not disturb others or swim in the water;
  • Women with long hair should fasten;
  • Do not put the towel in the water (some places allowitem);
How to bathe in the hot springs of Japan

There are also some important rules and factors that you should not forget:

  • Take your shoes off – Onsen always have traditional floors ( tatami ) in the changing rooms, entering with shoes on these floors is a big reason for embarrassment. There will always be a place for you to take off your shoes before entering the locker room or even the venue;
  • Do not enter the wrong bath – Bathrooms are usually divided into genders, most often the female bath is represented by the red towel with the kanji for woman (女) and the male will be represented by the blue towel and the kanji for man (男);
  • Removing your clothes – Practically all onsen forbid entering the bath with clothes. So don't be shy about being naked around others. Take off your clothes and place them in the provided baskets or lockers. The only thing you can take with you to the onsen is a small towel, which should not be wet and can be placed over your head;
  • Shower first – No onsen allows you to enter the bath without washing first. Some provide a footstool with a shower head. Others you will find a bucket with
  • Tattoo – In Japan some places prohibit entry with a tattoo. You should try to find a place that allows entry with it, or if it's small, try to hide it in some way. I don't recommend it can cause problems;

Of course there are small differences in the rules from onsen to onsen. They are usually posted on the walls in Japanese. See what people do to imitate them.

How to bathe in the hot springs of Japan

Tips for bathing in hot springs

  • Consume large amounts of water before bathing. You can avoid dehydration and sweating from the hot springs;
  • Before getting into the shower, rinse your body to get used to the temperature. During the cold season, start by warming the hands and feet first, then gradually warm the rest of the body. (Blood pressure is usually highest before a shower.)
  • When you get out of the shower, simply drying off with a towel will suffice. The sodium content will preserve the skin's natural moisture. But leave calmly.
  • After the shower you will feel relaxed, but your body is tired, so it is recommended that you rest for 30 to 60 minutes, stay hydrated and enjoy a good meal;
How to bathe in the hot springs of Japan

The importance of impressing

In the 1990s foreign sailors drunk caused some trouble in several onsen in a city in Hokkaido. The onsen responded by prohibiting all foreigners from entering. This ended up causing a stir throughout Japan, and some foreigners found such policies to be racist.

But that's in the past, and the Japanese like to see foreign visitors visiting the onsen and learning their culture. These etiquette rules will help you impress the locals and avoid embarrassment or causing confusion.

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