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ABCs of Onsen Ryokan

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For overseas visitors, Japan’s onsen ryokan is full of mystery. So we have created this page to provide answers to all questions you may have. Here, we impart knowledge necessary to fully enjoy onsen ryokans in detail, and divide them into three categories – “For Beginners”, “Intermediate Level” and “Advanced Level”. We answer numerous questions here, such as: How are public baths different from private onsens? What manners, etiquettes and rules should I keep in mind when going to an onsen? What are the traditional Japanese cultural elements unique to ryokans? How to enjoy onsen with my lover and family? What about tattoo at onsen? What are the medicinal benefits of hot spring? and many more… This space is filled with useful information about Japanese onsen ryokans! We hope you find it informative. Please use this page as a reference whenever you have a question.

For Beginners

1. What’s “Onsen Ryokan” / Differences between “Onsen” & “Ryokan”

A Japanese onsen ryokan (hot spring inn) is a lodging facility that carries on the traditions of age old Japanese culture. After soaking in the hot spring, change into a “yukata” robe, enjoy top level Japanese cuisine in a spacious hall, and relax in a uniquely Japanese…

2. Three types of hot spring baths at an onsen ryokan

There are typically three types of hot spring baths at an onsen ryokan – (I) Private hot spring baths inside guest rooms, (II) rental hot spring baths outside guest rooms for private use, and (III) large public…

3. Occupy the whole hot spring with your lover! Let’s enjoy our “couple onsen”

Japanese hot springs, or onsens, are very nice – they can refresh you, make you feel relaxed, and are renowned for numerous medicinal properties. But many people outside Japan keep asking us “How…

4. Family gathering at Japanese hot spring! Introduction to our “family onsen”

For people travelling with children or/and elderly parents to Japan, we highly recommend “family onsen”. Japanese hot springs, or onsens, can refresh you, make you feel relaxed, and have medicinal…

Intermediate Level

1. The complete guide to manners, etiquettes and rules at onsen – 30 points to resolve your question marks about Japanese hot springs

Must-read article both for nervous onsen beginners and people who would go bonkers with a feeling of freedom. Different from leisure hot springs facilities in other countries that allow wearing swimsuits…

2. About tattoo and onsen

In Japan, people belonging to anti-social organisations that commit violent crimes called “yakuza” have a custom to wear tattoos since early times. As good citizens in general do not have such a culture…

3. Excellent Japanese cultural experience at onsen ryokans – get the most out of casual kimono “yukata”

Different from modern western-style hotels in cities, onsen ryokans are places where elements of traditional Japanese culture are highly condensed. Hot springs and washoku (Japanese food) are…

4. Introduction to Japanese-style room “washitsu” at onsen ryokans

Rooms at traditional onsen ryokans are typically Japanese-style room, or “washitsu” in Japanese, covered with tatami (Japanese floor mat). Washitsu is different from western rooms in many ways, and has…

Advanced Level

1. Spring qualities and their medicinal benefits

Hot springs are not just relaxing and refreshing – they benefit health and beauty in many ways as well. Hot springs are good for your mind and body, both inside and outside. Since ancient times…

2. The heart and soul of Japanese hot spring – Onsen as a place for cleansing yourself

People from over the world come to this nation to enjoy Japanese hot spring, or onsen, but many of them have some kind of dissatisfaction. “Why should men and women be separated?” “Why should I…

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