Taking a hot spring bath is one of the scariest experiences for newcomers to Japan, and the thought of communal bathing is enough to put many tourists off the idea altogether.
This is such a shame, because soaking in a steaming hot onsen bath - preferably in a beautiful natural setting, or with snow falling in drifts around you - is one of the most enjoyable and memorable experiences you can have in Japan (or any country for that matter).
Yes, you have to be naked. In front of people. We all found it difficult to begin with - but once you've dared to bare, you'll never go back. Trust us.