Onsen is the Japanese word for hot spring. Back in the day they were traditionally used as public
bathing places. Since Japan is volcanically active country there are many onsens scattered
throughout the nation. There are many types of hot springs and can be distinguished by the
minerals contained in the water. Depending on the minerals in the water certain health benefits will
come about. All hot springs have a relaxing effect on the body, which would lead to a calm mind.
Visitors to Japan can experience them indoors, outdoors, in gender separated or mixed baths,
constructed, and natural settings. It is recommended that the best way to experience an onsen is to
spend a night in a ryokan, which is a Japanese traditional inn. However, if you are on a budget then
going to the local public bath houses is another option.
Onsen are an integrated part of Japanese culture and has been a growing tourist trend. The top places to go experience hot springs are in Kusatsu, Hakone, Noboribetsu, Nyuto, Beppu, and Okuhida. There are many places to go to, but it comes down to personal preference. Some people have based their decision on the health benefits that can be gained by soaking in the water. Others have wanted to enjoy the water surrounded by beautiful nature under a moonlit sky. Either way it is one of the attractions that must not be missed when visiting Japan.
Hokkaido | Noboribetsu
Famous for its healing properties and the 9 varieties of hot spring waters that people can enjoy.
Hokkaido | Jozankei
Known for its highly desirable sodium chloride water, said to have healing properties.
Hokkaido | Hakodate
1 of 3 well known hot springs in Japan, located on the outskirts of Hakodate near the airport.
Tohoku | Yamagata
Ginzan Onsen is a hot spring village known for its traditionally styled Japanese inns that is reflective of the Taisho era.
Kanto | Iwate
Hanamaki Onsen is located on the west side of the city and is a collective of hotels and ryokan (traditional Japanese inn).
Tohoku | Akita
Nyuto Onsen is a collection of ryokans (Japanese traditional inns) with hot springs unique to their establishment, which is located in the Towada-Hachimantai National Park.
Kanto | Tochigi | Nikko
Nikko Yumoto Onsen
Nikko Yumoto Onsen is a hot spring town located in Nikko National park in the back part of the Okunikko region.
Kanto | Gunma
Manza Onsen is a hot spring resort located on the slopes of Mount Shirane and has the most sulfuric waters in Japan.
Kanto | Gunma
Kusatsu Onsen is located in the center of Gunma and is the most popular onsen in Japan.
Kanto | Gunma
Ikaho Onsen is one of the four famous hot springs in Gunma and is known for their Golden and Silver water.
Chubu | Ishikawa
Kaga Onsen is a mecca of hot springs and is located south of Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture.
Chubu | Yamanashi | Mt Fuji
Lake Kawaguchi has a few ryokans (Japanese traditional inn) with onsen (hot spring) baths that has views of Mount Fuji.
Chubu | Nagano
Nozawa Onsen is located in the northern part of Nagano Prefecture and has 13 traditional style public baths.
Chubu | Gifu
Gero Onsen is one of the three best onsen in Japan as said by Hayashi Razan, a Confucian poet from the Edo Period.
Chubu | Ishikawa | Noto Peninsula
Wakura Onsen is a hot spring area located next to Nanao Bay on the Noto Peninsula.
Chubu | Gifu | Okuhida
Okuhida Onsen was discovered by Takeda Shingen’s troops and has healing waters for a variety of ailments.
Chubu | Nagano
Shirahone Onsen is a rural hot spring resort surrounded by nature in a deep gorge by Mount Norikura, a sacred mountain.
Kansai | Wakayama
Shirahama Onsen is located in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, and is one of the oldest hot springs in Japan.
Kansai | Hyogo | Kobe
Arima Onsen is located in Kobe and is one of the oldest hot springs in Japan.
Chugoku | Shimane | Matsue
Tamatsukuri Onsen, known as “the baths of the gods”, is one of the oldest hot springs in Japan. It is renowned for its rejuvenating properties found in the water.
Shikoku | Ehime | Matsuyama
One of the oldest hot springs and landmark of Matsuyama City located in Ehime Prefecture, Japan.
Kyushu | Oita | Beppu
Beppu Hatto and the Hells of Beppu both contribute into making Beppu Onsen one of the most famous and popular hot spring areas in Japan.
Kyushu | Oita | Yufuin
A popular hot spring resort town filled with entertainment and traditional ryokans with an amazing scenic view of mountains surrounding the area located in Oita Prefecture, Japan
Kyushu | Kagoshima | Ibusuki
Ibusuki is famous for hot sand baths. Covered by sand that is warmed up by hot springs under the ground.
Kyushu | Kumamoto | Kumamoto City
A traditional hot spring area in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan known for the Rotemburo Meguri public bathhouse activity.