In Japan, Onsen has been an important practice in Japanese culture. By looking at the history of Onsen, people took a bath at Onsen to cure disease and injures. This is because, in the water, there are chemicals that help heal injuries. It is believed that Onsen was created several tens of thousands of years ago in Japan because Japan is located in a volcano zone and ancient people were already taking a bath at Onsens. Today, Onsen has still been one of the important practice in Japan and you can see many Onsen in Japan.
What to bring to Onsen
- Tenugui/Bath towel
Tenugui is a smaller towel than a bath towel which normally Japanese people bring it with in the Onsen to wash their body, cover up their body.
Onsen usually have or sell Tenugui so you don’t have to worry too much!
Some Onsen will let you borrow a bath towel, but not all, so check the Onsen before going.
- Shampoos/body soap
It depends on the Onsen you go, but most of the places have shampoos, conditioners and body soap.
Also, check whether the Onsen provides shampoo, etc.
How to take a bath in the Onsen?
There are several things that you have to follow to take a bath in Onsen.
If you follow those things, maybe you can be the Onsen master…?
- Must be fully naked
In order to go into the Onsen, you cannot wear anything including swimwear.
It is because to keep the water clean. Onsen is a place to clean your body and refresh, therefore, getting into the Onsen with clothing (including swimwear is forbidden).
Due to cultural differences, you might feel uncomfortable being naked in front of people, but you have to overcome the uncomfortableness in order to go into Onsen.
- Wash before going into the Onsen
Before going into the Onsen, you MUST wash your body first, because as I mentioned above, Onsen is a place to clean your body, so take a shower before entering is VERY IMPORTANT.
- Swimming in Onsen is not acceptable
Onsen is a place to relax, therefore, it is not acceptable swimming in the Onsen.
- You cannot put your hair in the Onsen.
As mentioned above, to keep the Onsen clean as possible, you cannot put your hair in the Onsen. Therefore, if you have a long hair, bring a hair tie or rape your hair with a towel.
- Dry off before entering the changing room
It is important to dry off your body entering the changing room after going to the Onsen because it is disturbing for people when the floor is wet. So, wring out the Tenugui and dry (it doesn’t have to be completely dry) your body.
Enjoy your Onsen experience!