What is on your mind when you hear the word “onsen”? public bathing ? natural hot springs? Yes! Onsen generally is a public bath that use natural hot water from geothermally heated springs. In Japan, onsen is so popular and everywhere. Japan has onsen in every districts. There are some types of onsen according to its building, gender, and minerals contained in the water. Some onsens are in indoor model, and some in outdoor. However, onsen should be distinguished from Sento, an indoor public bath where the bath is filled with tap water. Some onsens belong to ryokan and others belong to public bath house. There are onsen that separated according to gender and there are also that mixed.
Onsen now is very popular among the tourist. In the past, onsen normally found in the countryside but now many onsen are found in the cities. They are famous and become the best choice for many people who want to relax from stress and hectic activities.
The idea of onsen initially comes from the habit of Japanese in edo period who really appreciate “naked communion” which aims to break the barriers and build closed relationship in the relax situation in onsen.
Onsen water which contains mineral is believed to have healing power. Different onsen may have different colour and mineral and other healing composition. Bath tubs for outdoor onsen usually are made from granite, marble and cypress, while for indoor normally made from acrylic, tile and stainless steel.
If you plan to visit onsen and this is gonna be your first time, there is a little guidance that may useful for you:
- Take out your clothes in the changing room and put in the basket together with the towel.
- You are not allowed to use any clothes/swimming suit. So just use a small towel and take it off once you ready to enter the pool.
- Before entering the pool, rinse your body or take a bath in the bathing area.
- Go to the pool slowly and soak for a while and enjoy yourself.
- Get out from the pool and take a bath in bathing area and put soap throughout you body. After that you can back again to the pool and soak for sometimes.
- If you finished don’t rinse your body as the mineral from the water need to seep into your skin.
Enjoy your onsen experience!