My friends from abroad always curios about what we have to do inside Onsen Spa, especially who doesn’t have “take a bath together” culture or who doesn’t have ritual naked in front of others.
For Japanese, doing onsen is just common thing. As you know, Japan has a lot of volcano. Coming along with volcano is hot water from deep earth. This water is not drinking water but contain a lot of mineral such as sulfur, sodium, zinc, etc. Because of this, we use the water for :
- Medical treatment. Bathing in hot mineral water makes your blood in a smooth flow, effective to relief muscle pain, back pain and fatigue. Warning for uncontrolled hypertension, hot water makes your blood pressure higher, you are not allowed to jump to hot onsen water.
- Beauty. Mineral and hot water make old and died skin peeled, but don’t scrub your body inside the onsen pool, because the pool is communal, mind others by make the pool always clean.
- Relaxing and vacation. Forget your job, forget your target and achievement, just be relax and entertain yourself with onsen and cold beer.
The onsen pool usually can accommodate 15 – 20 people. They deliberately make like that for easy cleaning. They clean the pool everyday. For big onsen resort, they make 3 – 4 pools, while onsen theme parks have olympic size of onsen pool and we can swim 🙂
Here are the onsen pools :
All onsen have similar rules :
- They separate man and woman. The sign usually in japanese kanji, just remember the curtain in front door, blue for man, red for woman. Bring small towel ( provided in the room ) to dry our body after shower. Don’t forget to bring it back to your room.
- After passing by that front door with curtain, take off your slipper, put it on the shoe rack.
- Then you enter “changing room”, take off all clothes including underwear. Completely naked, completely nude. Put all into rattan box, that is open box with no key, so don’t bring valuable things to onsen pool. Cellular phone and camera are prohibited.
- Next room should be onsen pool with open shower room on the edge. Some provide american shower room, we can stand while showering, or japanese shower room, we sit down on a small bench while showering. The onsen resort provide shampoo and body soap. Here is japanese style shower room :
5. No need to make noisy voice, that is unnecessary. If you don’t believe it, observe your surrounding. Can we talk and chitchatting ? Of course we can, but do it with manner by lowering the voice.
For woman, if they don’t want to wash their hair, just tie the hair with rubber bracelet, so the hair will not fall into the onsen pool. After clean your hair and body, you are ready to enjoy the pool. Usually 10 -15 minutes is enough ( the pool’s temperature is set around 42 degree celcius ), then get off from the pool, have a cooling down by take a shower again ( set your desire water temperature for cooling down ). Some people like to jump to the pool for second time, others are not, whatever your body needs.
Then go back to changing room, there are hair drier, body lotion, cotton bud and free cold water.
Cold beer can be bought at vending macchine.
We can go to the pool by wearing yukata which is provided by onsen resort and use the hotel’s sandal. Don’t forget to leave the yukata and sandal upon checking-out, because that is hotel’s properties, otherwise the hotel will charge you.
Nothing more than relax and enjoy the hot pool, just try when you visit japan. Welcome to Japan…..