Onsen or hot spring is one of the bathing facilities in Japan. Its water comes from a geothermally heated spring that is believed to have healing powers derived from its mineral content.
Originally located in the outdoor, there are some ryokan or traditional japanese hotels that have indoor onsen.
There are some indoor baths that have a zen rock garden next to them, so the experience is even better! ^^
You can find more about these rock gardens in the post “Japanese Rock Garden – 枯山水 Karesansui”
When you come to Japan, these are the signs you should look for in your route map to enjoy this relaxing experience.
Japanese culture is very fond of bathing and visiting an onsen is one of the main tourist attraction, and who would not want to visit such a place to get away from the stress of the city and relax surrounded by nature. Even the Japanese Macaques enjoy to bathe! ^^
“Snow Monkeys” enjoying the onsen – video by the Guardian UK
An onsen should not be mistaken with Sentō which, unlike Onsen, its water is not geothermally heated. Although some sentō do use hot spring water to fill one bath, in that case the word onsen will often appear in the name of the sentō.
There are thousands of Onsen in Japan so there won’t be a problem for you to find one near the zone you are visiting ^^
Take a look on the video below to see an Onsen presentation from Hello-Nippon.net
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