digi-joho Japan: TOKYO BUSINESS

Onsen - Natural Hot Springs in Japan

The onsen is basically a Japanese public bath (sento) with natural hot spring water. In Japan there are many regions where you can enjoy hot springs that have water which is beneficial for your health, especially your skin.

It is not only the health benefits one receives form onsen, Onsen is part of the culture of relaxation that Japanese are so famous for: Onsen is deeply admired by Japanese people and bathing in general is so much part of the Japanese psyche and culture.


The essential difference between an onsen and a sento (communal bath house) is that the water in an onsen must be of volcanic origins, even if the water is reheated. Whereas a sento may use ordinary heated water, which is often soft, groundwater. In Japan, Onsen is defined by the temperature of the water, usually with a temperature over 25 C and should contain 19 essential minerals designated by the Japanese Environmental Agency.


Kakenagashi is fresh and not recycled hot spring water Onsen. With Kakenagashi, the hot spring water keeps running in the bathtub and is kept fresh and clean. Usually, a Geyser is the fountainhead, underneath the Onsen, where the hot spring water originates, so water in this type of Onsen is pure and fresh.

Health Benefits of Onsen

Onsen water is often thought to have healing powers according to its mineral properties. Senshitsu, or Onsen water quality differs from location to location of Onsen in each resort area.

To receive the full benefit of the healing powers of the hot spring water on you body, it is better not to wash your body by a shower or hot water after getting out of the tub. But, remember, please check with the staff at the Onsen about the effects of the minerals on your body. Some spring water is too strong to the skin, that should be washed away from your body.

The water at some Onsen in Japan is possible to drink. However, some Onsen water has strong minerals that can be toxic if congested. So, you should ask the staff if the water is drinkable or not, before entering Onsen.

Here is a relaxation tip: rest your body completely for at least 30 minutes after taking Onsen. You will feel rejuvenated and ready for more travel in Japan.

Related articles
How to Take a Japanese Bath at Ryokan

To Top