Countless onsen (hot springs) are scattered across Japan. You even can spend a few months to travel, even though you try only different types of onsen (hot spring) while in Japan. Bathing in onsen (hot springs) or outdoor baths (rotemburo) is a sheer joy, and a “must-do” for any visitor to Japan.
First, one thing to remember is that there are some types of onsen (hot spring) places or onsen ryokan (inn). Most of the foreign travelers might try a big and famous spa in a big city such as Spa World in Osaka and Oedo Onsen Monogatari in Tokyo, but you should keep in mind that those big spas are well-organized-onsen-like spas. To know the real charm of onsen, you should try REAL hot springs which contains good minerals or outside bath while viewing a wonderful nature! An overnight stay at an onsen ryokan (Japanese style hotel) is highly recommended.
Main Onsen (Hot Springs) in Japan
Hokkaido Tohoku

Hokkaido Onsen Travel Guide


  • Futamata, Hokkaido
  • Jozankei Onsen (定山渓温泉), Hokkaido
  • Onneyu Onsen (温根湯温泉), Hokkaido
  • Sounkyo Onsen (層雲峡温泉), Hokkaido
  • Toyako (洞爺湖), Hokkaido
  • Yunokawa, Hokkaido
  • Noboribetsu (登別), Hokkaido
  • Find more...

Tohoku Onsen Travel Guide


  • Sukayu (酸ヶ湯), Aomori
  • Asamushi Onsen (浅虫温泉), Aomori
  • Nyuutou Onsen (乳頭温泉郷), Akita
  • Takanoyu Onsen, Akita
  • Geto Onsen (夏油温泉), Iwate
  • Hanamaki (花巻), Iwate
  • Kindaichi Onsen, Iwate
  • Ginzan Onsen (銀山温泉), Obanazawa, Yamagata
  • Akayu, Yamagata
  • Zao Onsen (蔵王温泉), Yamagata
  • Naruko (鳴子), Miyagi
  • Sakunami, Miyagi
  • Sabakoyu Onsen, Fukushima, the oldest community onsen in Japan
  • Find more...
Kanto Tokai

Kinugawa Onsen (Nikko, Tochigi)
Kanto Onsen Travel Guide


  • Akagi, Gunma
  • Sawatari, Gunma
    Ikaho Onsen (伊香保温泉), Ikaho, Gunma
  • Kusatsu hot springs (草津温泉), Gunma, one of the most famous onsen outside Japan
  • Shima, Gunma
  • Takaragawa, Gunma, one of the largest konyoku rotenburo (outdoor mixed bath) in Japan
  • Shiobara Onsen (塩原温泉郷), Tochigi
  • Kinugawa Onsen (鬼怒川温泉), Tochigi
  • Tsurumaki Onsen (鶴巻温泉), Kanagawa
  • Hakone (箱根), Kanagawa, famous onsen resort town near Tokyo
  • Yugawara, Kanagawa
  • Find more...

Gero Onsen (Gifu)
Tokai Onsen Travel Guide


  • Hokkawa Onsen (北川温泉), Shizuoka
  • Ito, Shizuoka
  • Shuzenji Onsen (修善寺温泉), Shizuoka
  • Kanzanji Onsen (舘山寺温泉), Shizuoka
  • Sumatakyō Onsen (寸又峡温泉), Shizuoka
  • Atami Onsen (熱海温泉), Atami, Shizuoka, major onsen resort town near Tokyo
  • Gero Onsen (下呂温泉), Gifu - famous for its free open bath on riverbank of Hida River
  • Hirayu Onsen (平湯温泉), Takayama, Gifu
  • Nagaragawa Onsen (長良川温泉), Gifu
  • Find more...
Hokuriku Koshinetsu

Hokuriku Onsen Travel Guide


  • Yamanaka Onsen (山中温泉), Kaga, Ishikawa
  • Yamashiro Onsen (山代温泉), Kaga, Ishikawa
  • Wakura Onsen (和倉温泉), Nanao, Ishikawa
  • Katayamazu Onsen (片山津温泉), Kaga, Ishikawa
  • Awazu Onsen (粟津温泉), Komatsu, Ishikawa
  • Unazuki Onsen (宇奈月温泉), Kurobe, Toyama
  • Awara Onsen (芦原温泉), Awara, Fukui
  • Find more...

Shirahone Onsen (Nagano)
Koshinetsu Onsen Travel Guide

Kansai Chugoku

Arima Onsen (Kobe, Hyogo)
Kansai Onsen Travel Guide


  • Arima Onsen (有馬温泉), Kobe, Hyogo, one of the most famous onsen outside Japan
  • Takarazuka (宝塚), Hyogo
  • Kinosaki (城崎温泉), Hyogo
  • Yumura Onsen (湯村温泉), (Shin'onsen), Hyogo
  • Kawayu Onsen (川湯温泉), Tanabe, Wakayama
  • Nanki-Katsuura Onsen (南紀勝浦温泉), Nachikatsuura, Wakayama
  • Nanki-Shirahama Onsen (南紀白浜温泉), Shirahama, Wakayama
  • Ryujin Onsen (龍神温泉), Tanabe, Wakayama, one of Japan's famous three beautifying onsen
  • Yunomine Onsen (湯の峰温泉), Tanabe, Wakayama, site of the UNESCO World Heritage Tsuboyu bath
  • Find more...

Yuki Onsen (Hiroshima)
Chugoku Onsen Travel Guide


  • Yubara Onsen (湯原温泉), Okayama, one of the largest co-ed baths at the foot of Yubara dam
  • Kaike Onsen (皆生温泉), Yonago, Tottori
  • Misasa Onsen (三朝温泉), Misasa, Tottori
  • Find more...
Shikoku Kyushu

Beppu Onsen (Oita)
Kyushu Onsen Travel Guide


  • Beppu Onsen (別府温泉), Beppu, Oita, famous for its multi-colored baths
  • Yufuin (湯布院), Oita, one of the most famous onsen outside Japan
  • Aso (阿蘇), Kumamoto, a famous Onsen area alongside Mt. Aso, an active volcano
  • Nuruyu, Kumamoto
  • Kurokawa Onsen Village (黒川温泉郷), Kumamoto
  • Tara, Saga
  • Shimabara (島原), Nagasaki
  • Ibusuki (指宿), Kagoshima
  • Find more...

Types of Onsen (Hot Springs) in Japan

Onsen come in many types and shapes: Roten buro or Noten buro (露天風呂 or 野天風呂) is an outdoor bath; Uchiyu (内湯) is an indoor bath; Utaseyu (打たせ湯) is artificial waterfall in the bathing area; Ashiyu (足湯) is a foot bath; Goemon buro (五右衛門風呂) is a large iron kettle-shaped bathtub; Neyu (寝湯) is a lying bath; Ganbanyoku (岩盤浴) is a hot stone spa.

Real onsens contain minerals and are bubbling from the ground. Your skin will become smooth like a baby’s, if you find the spring that contains good minerals! Find types of water you like!!

Alkaline simple onsen (アルカリ性単純泉, arukari-sei tanjyun-sen)
Sulphur onsen (硫黄泉, iou-sen)
Sodium chloride onsen (ナトリウム泉, natoriumu-sen)
Hydrogen carbonate onsen (炭酸泉, tansan-sen)
Iron onsen (鉄泉, tetsu-sen)

In Japan, it is said onsen have various medical effects. A good soak in proper onsen heals aches, pains and diseases, and visit onsen to treat the illnesses, such as arthralgia, chronic skin diseases, diabetes, constipation, menstrual disorders and so on.
Generally it is said that if alkaline is strong, one feels that the water is light and smooth as alkaline simple onsen removes one’s cuticles and make one’s skin smooth. Therefore, many “Bijin-yu (onsen which makes one beautiful)” belongs to this type.
Be warned that some people might get skin sore, if the acidity is too strong.
The basic idea of how to take onsen depending on the type of chemicals.
Soak in the water of the alkaline type or good type for you longer and don’t wash off the good minerals with soap before you get out.
Soak in the water of the strong acid type shortly and wash off the minerals before you get out as the bacteria-killing action is too strong. Even though this type of water is too strong, you keep the rule and the water is good for your skin.

The color of water also varies: White; Clear and colorless; Red; Blue; Brown; Black; With mineral deposits.

For your further interest, most of onsen are gender separated baths and there are some mixed onsen in rural areas of Japan. Some onsen have strong smells.
Hot spring tax must be paid. It is usually included in the fee.

Where do you want to go in Japan?

Related articles

How to take a bath in Japan

What you need in Japan and before/after in Japan

Things you need once you are in Japan!?
Find more...