"Going for onsen (hot spring bath)" Top 5 Page for this destination Hokkaido Local Custom Tip by idy

Hokkaido Local Customs: 7 reviews and 10 photos

  8-tatami room at an onsen resort
by idy

Around Hokkaido's well-known onsen (hot spring) areas, you'll be able to find numerous establishments offering accomodation and onsen facilities.

Most of these have an onsen for hotel guests that is segregated for men and women. If you are uncomfortable with the idea of a "public" bath, you should prob'ly go for a place that offers private baths (but it will be expensive).

In the rooms, you will find that towels, yukatas (summer robes) and slippers are provided. You will have to put these on when you go to the onsen. At the bath, you will find everything you need in terms of toiletries, like soap, shampoo, creams, lotions, disposal combs, cotton buds, etc. You cannot wear any clothing into the hot spring and MUST shower before getting into the hot spring. The only thing you can take into the water is a small towel (not that helpful for hiding behind, I'm afraid!).

Those with health problems like high blood pressure or heart conditions are not advised to soak in the hot water, which is about 40 degrees C. There are also cold water pools which some people alternate with the hot water pools. Some places also have outdoor hot pools. For first-timers, you are advised to soak for a few minutes and get out, perhaps take a shower, wash your hair, and then go back in for another few minutes, and so on.

Because people generally visiting these places are there for the onsen, you may find the bathrooms attached to your room to be extremely small and cramped. The rooms themselves prob'ly aren't too big and are measured by tatami mats (this is how Japanese homes are measured). 8 tatami mat rooms are the standard size, I think.

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  • Updated Sep 29, 2005
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