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All about Japan - Onsen: Volcanic Hot Springs

What is an onsen?

Tsuru no yu onsen during winter

An onsen (温泉 - hot spring) is a hot spring of volcanic origin. It allows you to relax, free yourself from stress and fatigue and has several medicinal and regenerating properties for the body.

This bath of almost 50°C is often located outside, in a heavenly environment. The onsen has been very present in Japanese culture for millennia, particularly for its effects on the skin and health.

Onsen ≠ Sento (indoor public bath with non-natural water sources).


Rules for bathing in an onsen

japanese women in an onsen

Before discovering the best onsen in Japan, here are the rules to follow when bathing there:

  • Being totally naked
  • Wash yourself before entering the pool
  • Do not soak your head and hair
  • Do not dive
  • Do not film or take photos
  • Tattoos prohibited or covered by bandages


Kusatsu Onsen

Onsen of Kusatsu

Kusatsu is considered Japan's first onsen. Fed by large quantities of hot water, it is said to cure “all illnesses except lovesickness”.


Fuji Kawaguchiko Onsen

Onsen of Fuji Kawaguchiko

This onsen offers spectacular views of Mount Fuji and the lake at its base, Lake Kawaguchiko.


Noboribetsu Onsen

Onsen of Noboribetsu

The best onsen on the island of Hokkaido, the waters of its hot springs contain sulfur, hydrogen sulfide and iron, which softens, brightens the skin and reduces fatigue.


Beppu Onsen

Onsen of Beppu

On the horizon, white steam can be seen coming out of the town of Beppu, rising between the buildings. Beppu hosts 8 onsen, but also sand baths or mud baths.

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