Enjoying a Japanese bath (known as onsen) is a unique cultural experience and a must-try when visiting Japan. Bathing in an onsen is known to be relaxing and therapeutic, and while it may be a bit intimidating at first, most tourists will end up considering it as the best highlight of their visit.

However, there are some quite strict rules to follow when using an onsen. Continue reading this article, you will become an onsen master in no time!

  1. Before onsen
  • Undress completely and put all your belongings and clothes in your locker. At any onsen, they will provide you a large and small towel; only bring the small one with you.
  • Shower first: this is probably the most critical step, always wash yourself before entering the onsen.

  1. During onsen
  • Put your small towel to the side or on your head (like most locals do), and tie up your hair so that it doesn’t touch the water.
  • Watch your body temperature and try not to get too hot. If you start to feel dizzy, get out slowly and take a few minutes to cool down.
  • No cameras, food or drinks are allowed.
  • No swimming or shouting.                                                                                                        
    1. After onsen
    • Use your small towel to dry off, and go wash yourself again.
    • Wipe off as much water as possible before re-entering the changing area.
    • Remember to drink water after you bath, it is important to rehydrate!
    • There are generally relaxing rooms outside for visitors to lay down or sit after onsen.                                                                                                                                                               


  • Something you should know…

    Tattoos are very often forbidden in onsens, as they are uncommon in Japan and are usually associated with the Yakuza mafia. You could be refused for having even the tiniest tattoo… But you can always try to hide it with a waterproof bandage.