Onsen Etiquette – Tips For Visiting A Japanese Public Bathhouse

For a prude like myself the thought of bathing naked with a bunch of strangers terrifies me. It was not until my third visit to Japan this week, under the guidance of an Aussie expat who lives in Tokyo, that I plucked up the courage to try the Japanese tradition of soaking nude at an onsen and I’m so glad I did. It’s one of the most natural, authentic and relaxing experiences I’ve had in Japan and I would definitely try it again now I have the knowledge of how to do so correctly. For anyone else thinking of taking the plunge, here’s my guide to onsen etiquette in Japan. What Is An Onsen? An onsen is a traditional Japanese bathhouse where you can soak in hot spring waters. Due to its volcanic activity, Japan has dozen of onsen scattered around the country, some of which were established hundreds of years ago. The legal definition of an onsen includes the requirement that its water contain at least one of 19 designated chemical elements, including minerals such as iron and sulfur. The health benefits of each pool will vary according to its mineral content but onsens are thought to help with certain … Continue reading Onsen Etiquette – Tips For Visiting A Japanese Public Bathhouse