Recommended ways to use Onsen
1. 'Kake Yu' - Introducing your body to the water
In order to acclimatise your body to the temperature of the onsen and its mineral effects, it's often a good idea to use one of the buckets in the bathroom to pour some of the water over your body.
2. Bathe in moderation!
Recommended bathing times vary according to the temperature and type of spring, but at first, bathe for 3-10 minutes, and when you feel more accustomed to the water and its effects, you can gradually begin to extend the time you spend in the onsen.
3. Wash your body
Washing your body is a good thing to do after you have warmed yourself up in the bathtub. However, anybody who uses makeup should be sure to wash it all off before entering the bath.
4. Don't wash off after bathing
Make sure not to wash off the active ingredients that soak into your body after entering the bath. (For people who are prone to irritation and sore skin from the hot water, it is best to wash yourself with fresh water afterwards, or dry off and cool down).
5. Always keep well hydrated
Different people perspire at different rates, but body water levels will drop when bathing in onsen. Keep hydrated by drinking warm water or a sports drink.
6. Rest well
Bathing will consume your energy, and your blood pressure levels will fluctuate, so until your body has regained its energy and strength, be sure to keep warm and relax.

Onsen are not good for certain conditions

When you are ill, or your body is in a weaker state than usual, sometimes the medicinal features of a spring can have an adverse effect on your health. People who might be affected by certain conditions should be especially careful, or refrain completely from bathing.

[Special Attention!]

  • Bathing in high temperature baths with high blood pressure, heart conditions and/or a high degree of arterial sclerosis.
  • Bathing in high temperature baths or bathing for a long period of time during the first and final stages of pregnancy.
  • Bathing just before and just after eating.
  • Bathing after you have consumed alcohol.
  • Bathing immediately after participating in sports activities.
  • When your physical condition and health is weak.

The difference in temperature from suddenly immersing your body in hot water after being in a cold environment, or exposing it to the open air can shock your body and may even cause it to spasm. Make sure the change in temperature is gradual, slowly allowing your body to become more accustomed to the heat. Also, take extra care when you undress before using open air baths.The difference in temperature from suddenly immersing your body in hot water after being in a cold environment, or exposing it to the open air can shock your body and may even cause it to spasm. Make sure the change in temperature is gradual, slowly allowing your body to become more accustomed to the heat. Also, take extra care when you undress before using open air baths.

Etiquette when using Onsen

There is a certain etiquette to bear in mind when enjoying Japanese Onsen. Please remember that Onsen are for public and not for private use, so kindly consider others around you.

  • Please check out the opening hours of Onsen baths in advance.
    • Opening hours may differ, depending on each Ryokan, or each bathhouse. Sometimes, separate baths for men and women may operate a rotation system at certain times during the day, that will allow for both sexes to experience and enjoy both, or all baths in a Ryokan. (A tip: At most Ryokans a curtain will be displayed outside the bathroom to indicate which sex can use the bath, generally blue for gents, red for ladies.)
  • Please do not take valuables to the changing rooms. These should be left at reception or in your room safe.
  • Please use toilet facilities before entering the bathrooms.
  • Lockers or baskets are provided for your clothes in the changing rooms.
    • Eating and drinking are not permitted in the baths.
    • Please refrain from talking loudly in the bathrooms.
  • Wash your body before getting into the baths.
    • Please use the seats provided when washing your body and your hair.
    • Please rinse thoroughly to ensure your body is soap free. (Please do not take the soap into the baths.)
    • Please clean your washing space when you have finished, and return the stool and washbowl to their original place for the sake of the next guests to use them.
  • Please pour some of the bathwater over yourself before getting into the baths. Take your time when getting into the baths and do not jump in.
    • Please do not put towels in the baths.
  • Please dry yourself in the bathrooms, before returning to the changing room.

The information shown above is the general etiquette for experiencing Onsen. Please note that rules and etiquette may vary at each Ryokan and remember, onsen are for all to enjoy!

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