Top 5 Onsens (Hot Springs) to Visit in Japan

An Onsen (Japanese for hot spring) is a public bath-house in which people from all over Japan visit for a relaxing get-away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Due to its numerous volcanoes around the country that in turn create these natural hot springs, there is no shortage of places for developers to turn into hot springs. Undoubtedly, this is one of the favorite past-time of the Japanese people. Do take note however that some Onsens are reserved for Japanese ONLY and do not allow tourist so be sure to call ahead before making the trip!

Typical outdoor/public hot spring in Japan
Typical outdoor/public hot spring in Japan

Sukayu Onsen

Sukayu Onsen is a particularly well-known public bath in Aomori, Aomori Prefecture. It is well known among the Onsens in Japan for the presence of the Sen-Nin-Buro. This so-called 1,000-persons bath is a giant mixed gender bathhouse. These facilities, unlike Sukayu Onsen, are usually segregated based on gender and thus Sukayu Onsen stands out amongst the many public bath-houses in Japan.

Nestled among lush greenery, Sukayu Onsen is popular among the locals and tourists alike
Nestled among lush greenery, Sukayu Onsen is popular among the locals and tourists alike

Jigokudani Onsen

While the hot springs in Japan are usually reserved for people, Simians (a specie of Monkey) use them at the Jigokudani Monkey Park. Instead of humans, these Japanese monkeys enjoy the warm water at this famous spot. Simians seldom live in such cold climates, and Nagano Prefecture is not known for being warm, thus the reasons that the Simians are around might be due to the hot spring at Jigokudani!

Beppu Onsen

Beppu prefecture is quite possibly the “richest” Onsen in Japan. Out of every Japan Onsen bath-house, it discharges the most water. Only at Yellowstone National Park can one see a greater amount of water discharged at any one time. Myoban Japan Onsen faces the Beppu resort, and features pleasant straw huts for those looking for accomodations as well. It is famous for being comfortable and quiet. The tower located near the Beppu resort is another illustrious tourist attraction, but individuals who want to enjoy a quiet and relaxing trip will probably want to avoid the hustle and bustle.

Certain Onsens feature an indoor area so no matter the weather, you will not be deprived of enjoying a hot spring bath
Certain Onsens feature an indoor area so no matter the weather, you will not be deprived of enjoying a hot spring bath

Aso Onsen

Out of all the active volcanoes in Japan, Mount Aso is the tallest. The powerful geological forces at work there drive the hot springs bath at Aso, Kumamoto. Visitors should not miss the Aso Uchinomaki Spa and the Aso Akamizu Spa complexes. Anyone so moved to give thanks for the natural beauty might wish to say a prayer or two at the nearby Aso Shrine.

The Aso Onsen also features and indoor bath area that is more modern than most Onsens
The Aso Onsen also features and indoor bath area that is more modern than most Onsens

Dogo Onsen

Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture is nestled on the island of Shikoku. Dogo is one of the oldest baths in Japan, and calls this beautiful city home. Masaoka Shiki, the famous Japanese poet is considered to be one of the greatest authors of Haiku poems. His constant trips to the warm water of these baths might very well have spurred on his endless inspiration and might have been what made the Dogo Onsen one of the more popular ones in Japan.

Can you tell how Masaoka Shiki got his inspiration for the poems? We sure can!
Can you tell how Masaoka Shiki got his inspiration for the poems? We sure can!

Have you vistied an Onsen in Japan yet? If you haven’t, this should be a must-do item on your bucket list!

Check out this video we found on YouTube for more information regarding Onsens in Japan!

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