Sunday, February 5, 2012

First time at the Onsen

An onsen is a hot springs bathing/soaking place in Japan, which uses natural hot water from geothermally heated springs. The legal definition of an onsen includes that its water must contain at least one of 19 designated chemical elements, including radon and metabolic acid, and be 25 °C or warmer before being reheated. (I think our onsen was 40°C). This differentiates an onsen from a sento, which uses heated tap water.

Our neighbors invited us to go with them to a nearby onsen yesterday morning.  Ted had been before in other areas of Japan, but this was my first time to an onsen.  The cost was 500 yen per person and was more than worth it!  After paying at the entry desk, you have to leave your shoes. 

Tattoos and bathing suits are not allowed at the onsen. There are separate areas for men and women.

After leaving your towel and all your clothes in a locker, you go to the cleaning area with only your soap and wash cloth. There are little stools to sit on and hand held shower sprayers so you can get clean and rinse all the soap before going into the onsen. The place where we were had several indoor pools and two outside.  We went outside. While we were sitting in the hot spring water, we were surrounded by rocks covered in snow.  It was very relaxing to soak in the hot mineral water.

Don’t expect to see any more photos from yesterday’s trip the onsen.  My blog isn’t a place for pictures of naked old women.

1 comment:

hasnulyakin said...

Good one Pam! I will definitely visit Onsen once I'm back to Kyoto next month :)...