Sometimes visiting an Onsen could seem like a difficult experience: the language, the manners, the cultural differences… But don’t be afraid! , everybody is coming to relax and enjoy, therefore the mood is very nice and it is very likely that people around you will be very helpful. Still, it is a good idea to visit an onsen with some basic information to help us enjoy it even better!
In a previous post we talked about the Onsen or hot spring which is one of the bathing facilities in Japan. Being in an Onsen is not just simple get into the water, there are some rules and etiquette manners to follow for a better experience to oneself and a moment of harmony balance for everyone else enjoying their onsen experience.
Before we move to instructions, it is a good idea to understand where are you suppose to enter. Even if there are some mixed onsen, it is very likely that you will be going to a “divided” one. In this case, you need to understand what door is the correct one to enter for you. The men one will have a blue curtain and probably the kanji “男” (also written in hiragana as おとこ), and the women one will have a red curtain and the kanji “女” (also written in hiragana as おんな) – If none of these signs (or any clear sign, ex. written in english, a clear drawing of men or women, etc) then please ask the staff for instructions.
Now we are ready to step in – To have a good experience in a Onsen, these are the steps you need to follow:
1. Wash lightly with water to take all dirt and sweat off your body. By rinsing off you also get used to hot water.
2. Wash your body with soap.
3. Get into the water with ease, soaking up your body starting from feet to neck so you get used to the water’s temperature that may be around 40°C. When entering the water do it without jumping or diving, as baths are for relaxing.
4. Relax and enjoy.
5. Once you get out of the water, dry off your body before entering the locker room area. Most of the Onsen have an area where you can rehydrate yourself with water, beer or tea.
For a more cute instructions with images, we will count on “Go! Nagano” website ^^
And if you prefer video – then we count with Kinosaki Onsen youtube video
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