8 steps how to take Onsen with Japanese style


Onsen in Japan. Soaking in the bathwater is absolutely japanese culture so that there are sort of rules in Onsen or public bath. It isn’t a big deal for Japanese but I heard traveller from foreign might get confused or can’t help thinking how to. Are you curious? Let’s take a look general way in order how to take Onsen or public bath.

1, Bring your own towel

If you think you’re gonna try one day soaking at any Onsen or public bath, generally the towel fare isn’t included to basic fare so you would have to pay it as additional cost for renting. Preparing yours is maybe better choice to save money.

2, Pay your soaking fee

How you pay your soaking fare at entrance (using ticket machine sometimes). There is lots of options depending on facilities so if you come up curiosity let’s ask them people in charge.

3, Take off all of your cloths

You have to take your cloths off at undress room. Did you think how about putting on swimsuit? Answer is No in general just because this is Japanese culture.
I’ve heard that people have to put swimsuit on in public bath in another county but it isn’t allowed in Japan in general. Be openly at bath space as Japanese does.

4, Bring your towel inside bath space (only man)

Don’t forget to bring your towel which is OK if it is going to be all wet. We Japanese usually use it when we wash our body or wipe off drops on your skin roughly before going back to undressing room.
For some reason this custom has been doing only man’s bath space..

5, Wash off body before taking bath

When you enter bath space what jumps out is big bath tabs but please just wait for a second. An action washing body off is the first thing you have to do. Japanese around you should do it first I don’t doubt because I also do and there are big space for washing body where you should recognize.
Then usually people use their towel they brought in.

6, Soak in the bathwater

No style needed just relaxing. If you brought a towel, put aside or put it on your head like Japanese around you does in the tab.

7, Wipe off water drops before out

Before going back to undress space let’s wipe your body off with wrung out towel in order to avoid getting soaked undressed room. Said that, I heard this is only done man’s bath somehow.

8, Drink milk after put cloth on

Your body will be comfortably warm after taking bath. I suggest you to buy bottle milk (you can find easily where to buy). I don’t know why but Japanese has this kind of culture or can be called sort of style drinking milk after taking public bath. To be honest it doesn’t matter what you choose but bottle milk should be sold. If you take this action(drinking milk), which equals you’re turning to Japanese.

What you should be aware of?

  • Don’t let your hair down as you’re in the bath. Fix your hair beforehand
  • Don’t use soap in the bath
  • Don’t swim
  • Don’t be like a kid in a candy store
  • Don’t keep putting your towel in the bath

About Tattoo in Onsen

The fact that few Japanese has tattoo and other most Japanese is sensitive to tattoo because it is sort of symbol for Yakuza (Gang) in Japan. This reason behind it makes some Japanese uncomfortable even in glance and it get people who has tattoo under quite strict rules to take public pool or public bath including Onsen.

Unfortunately generally this rules go for foreign traveller as well as Japanese. So if you have tattoo, it means you’re likely turned down even though really wanted to take Onsen. If you have and would like to take Onsen(showing your tattoo), make sure in advance if it is allowed. If you’re unsure how to check it, just let me know I’ll check for you. Of course for free.

Wrapping up

I’ve got above unspoken rules as growing up in Japan but hope this article turns to helpful one for you. There are tons of Onsen in Japan and each prefecture has at least couple of. Then you would see the scene like I did put today. Different culture will make you happy so I believe that Onsen including public bath are definitely the one. Taking open air Onsen lets you take to heaven. If you have question, feel free to contact or message me. I’ll answer from Japan.