Onsen: a short guide to proper etiquette 温泉:マナーガイド

Onsen (hot springs) and sento (public baths) are great places to relax. They are distinct communal areas with very precise rules of good conduct and etiquette. So as not to spoil your pleasure and that of your bathing companions, here are some tips.

1. Be sure to enter the correct bath!

Men's and women's baths are separated. The men's bath is indicated by the character 男 (otoko, man) printed on a blue curtain; the women's by the character 女 (onna, woman) printed on a red curtain.  Make sure to be careful before entering the bath!

Mixed baths do exist, but they are rare and often run voluntarily by the small local community. You'll usually only meet friendly older people.  Mixed baths have rotating bathing times for men and women. Don't forget to ask about bathing times before you arrive.

 

Entrée de onsen

Separate entrances for men and women recognized by blue and red curtains.

©Héctor García

  • If you have one or more small tattoos that can be easily hidden, conceal them with a special sticky strip.
  • If your tattoos are too large or too numerous to hide, find out in advance about onsen that accept tattooed people. There's usually at least one in every spa town, or you can book a private bath. 
  • Alternatively, you can book a private bath. It's more expensive, but you'll be able to experience the pleasure and benefits of very popular onsen. It's also a particularly relaxing and soothing experience to enjoy a private onsen. It's more expensive, but you'll be able to experience the pleasure and benefits of the very popular onsen. It's also a particularly relaxing and soothing experience to enjoy a private onsen.
Akigami Onsen

Akigami Onsen

travel.rakuten.co.jp

Un onsen privé avec vue sur le Mont Fuji !

A private onsen with a view of Mount Fuji!

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Suite avec onsen en plein air

Suite with outdoor onsen

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Japan Visitor - tattoo-onsen-4.jpg
Hotel onsen avec vue sur le Mont Fuji

Onsen hotel with a view of Mount Fuji

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