How to Use a Japanese Hot Spring Bath (Onsen)

How to Use a Japanese Hot Spring Bath (Onsen)

In a country as volcanic as Japan, hot springs are everywhere - from the beaches to the mountains via every little town and village in between. Bathing in them isn't just a pleasant pastime, it's a ritual that's close to the heart of Japanese culture - and like many things in Japan there is a correct way to do it that is rigorously adhered to.

Cultural etiquette to enjoying a traditional Onsen

Though the cultural etiquette is important, there's no need for foreigners to Japan to be nervous about visiting Japanese bathhouses - and every reason to be brave and take the plunge. Yes, you have to be naked (gasp!) - but the strangeness of it all quickly goes away as you realise that this is not in the slightest bit unusual to any of your fellow bathers.

To help you know how to approach your first hot spring bath in Japan, we've put together this video guide. Follow it step-by-step and you'll be a pro in no time!

Ask almost anybody at InsideJapan Tours what their favourite memory of Japan is, and they will probably list the people, the food, and the onsen. In fact, ask any Japanese person and their answer will probably be the same. Yet for such a well-loved pastime, onsen are probably the scariest part of Japanese culture for most foreigners. But don't worry - here's our handy guide!