7 famous Onsen spots (hot spring) in Japan!

7 famous onsen spots in Japan

Have you ever visited any Onsen (hot spring) in Japan? There are some rules that you should know –such as wash your body before soaking, don’t put towels in the water, no swim suits, and no tattoos. Since Onsen is there for everyone, please keep these rules in your mind. At the same time, I would like you to enjoy our Onsen culture! Here, I would introduce 7 famous onsen spots in Japan!



 

7 famous Onsen spots (hot spring) in Japan!

 

1. Hakone (箱根)

7 famous onsen spots in Japan hakone

Hakone is located in Kanagawa prefecture –every year, 2000 people are coming to visit the town. Hakone has various kinds of Onsen including a sulfur spring, alkalinity spring, and a sodium chloride spring. These types of Onsen are known as “Beauty Spring (美人の湯/ Bijin no yu)” since they have good effects on your skin. In addition to Onsen, I would recommend you to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Ashinoko lake, wonderful Kamaboko (white fish meat made into a seasoned paste and steamed), and Black Eggs at Owakudani area. If you would like to get further information, there are a lot of English websites since many foreign visitors are coming to Hakone!

 

2. Beppu (別府)

7 famous onsen spots in Japan beppu

When hearing the word Onsen, you might imagine something very special and/or unusual. But for people living in Beppu, Oita, Onsen is a part of their life. One of my friends from Beppu told me that people there use Onsen almost every day instead of taking a shower in their house since most hot springs cost no more than 100 yen! So if you would like to talk with local people and enjoy Onsen at the same time, Beppu is the place for you. Not only onsen, Beppu is famous for “Jigoku (hell)”, which is the place where hot springs boil up. Ancient people named the place Jigoku, meaning hell, since the water was too hot and they thought it to be dangerous. I would recommend you to joing Jigoku meguri (going around Jigoku) tour so that you can enjoy various Jigoku there. If you want to soak and also see where Onsen is coming from, Beppu is the best place!

 

3. Yufuin (由布院)

7 famous onsen spots in Japan yufuin

Yufuin Onsen is also located in Oita prefecture –the Onsen there have a great effect on skin disease. Compared to Beppu’s reasonable Onsen places, Yufuin has more luxurious Onsen hotels. Moreover, since Yufuin is located in a valley, you can see morning mist – the scenery with the fog is so beautiful and mysterious. In addition, for those who love arts, there is a tour which includes a Onsen hotel and art museum tickets. It would be also interesting if you can visit both Beppu and Yufuin Onsen and compare –I hope you can relax under the mysterious atmosphere of Yufuin.

 

4. Gero (下呂)

7 famous onsen spots in Japan gero

For those who are planning to visit around Chubu area, I would recommend Gero Onsen in Gifu. Gero Onsen is known as one of the top three famous Onsen in Japan; having various types of hot springs –which are effective for neuralgia. Since the area has a lot of snow during winter, it might be better to visit there when it’s warm. During spring time (early to mid-April), you can also see beautiful cherry blossoms! I think it would be the best to enjoy cherry trees while taking a foot bath –since Gero Onsen town has a lot of footbath places outside of the buildings. The foot bath is very good for your health and is free in the most places (and you don’t have to take your cloth off), it might be easier to try. The next time when you are visiting around Nagoya, take a short trip to Gero!

 

5. Kusatsu (草津)

7 famous onsen spots in Japan kusatsu

This is also known as one of the top three famous Onsen in Japan and is located in Kanto area –so if you are staying around Tokyo, Kusatsu Onsen is a great choice. Compared to other Onsen in Japan, this hot spring has a bit more acidity –because of the characteristic, people in Kusatsu invented a special way of bathing called Jikan-yu (時間湯). Jikan-yu has a great effect of detox cation and has been used more than 400 years. Although it is an effective way to change your physical constitution, you need some professional instructors to teach you how to do Jikan-yu correctly. Other than that, because of the cool weather, many people enjoy the nice atmosphere during summer while others are coming to enjoy skiing during winter. You can have fun in Kusatsu all year round!

 

6. Arima (有馬)

7 famous onsen spots in Japan arima

Arima Onsen is another famous Onsen in Japan togerther with Gero and Kusatsu, and is located in Hyogo prefecture. The water there has an amazing effect on anemia. According to some old notes, an emperor visited the place more than 1500 years ago –so it is a very traditional Onsen place. Around the area, there are a lot of places to visit including Tutumiga falls and Rokkou-san Mountain. In addition, during spring time, you can enjoy cherry trees while many people are coming to see autumn leaves during fall season. Having a wonderful Onsen and spots to visit, Arima Onsen area has a great access from the city of Kobe and also other places all over Japan having airlines going to Kobe airport. Wherever in Japan you are going to stay or especially when you are in Kansai area, why don’t you visit Arima?

 

7. Noboribetsu (登別)

7 famous onsen spots in Japan noboribetsu

Did you know that Hokkaido has Onsen places? –one of them is Noboribetsu Onsen. It has 9 different kinds of Onsen and is famous for its effect on stomach disease –many people are coming to Noboribetsu for a hot-spring therapy. Not only that, the Onsen have a festival called Yu matsuri (Onsen festival) in February every year –during the festival a lot of events are held such as some Buddhist rituals, Exorcism tour and other traditional Japanese dancing. But what I think would be the most enjoyable is Hot Spring Splashing Battle. In the battle, young men wearing only shorts splash Onsen water to each other. Although the temperature in Noboribetsu during winter is below 0 ℃, you might feel warmer looking at the festival. If you would like to enjoy cold winter in Japan, Noboribetsu is the best place!

 

Conclusion

It is very interesting that these 7 Onsen spots have unique characteristics although they are all called as “Onsen”. Although I listed these 7 spots, there are lot more wonderful Onsen places all over Japan –I hope you’ll find your favorite Onsen during your stay in Japan!

 

7 famous Onsen spots (hot spring) in Japan!

1. Hakone (箱根)
2. Beppu (別府)
3. Yufuin (由布院)
4. Gero (下呂)
5. Kusatsu (草津)
6. Arima (有馬)
7. Noboribetsu (登別)