Japanese Etiquette

For visitors seeking to enjoy Japan on a deeper level.


How to enjoy Onsen

When you enter the building, remove your shoes and place them into a locker.

Pay for admission, either at the reception desk or with a machine at the front.

Enter the respective onsen area for your gender. The men’s side will have a blue curtain and the women’s side will have a red curtain.

Once in the changing room, choose a locker (unless you have been given a designated locker by the reception) and remove all your clothes and accessories by storing them in the locker. You may be required to use a 100 yen coin, but the lockers should automatically give it back to you at the end.

Bring a small towel with you into the bath (try to keep it dry) as well as a few shower items like face wash, conditioner, scrubber if you wish to use your own. If not, don’t worry! The onsen will always provide the basics like shampoo and body wash.

Inside the onsen area, you will see an area with stools and buckets. Grab one of each and take them to a vacant shower area. Use some soap to wash the stool before sitting on it.

Wash yourself, hair and body. Since it is a communal area, make sure you don’t accidentally splash anyone with water!

Make sure your body is completely rinsed off (no residual soap) and you’re all set to head on into the bath! When you get in, try to enter slowly and quietly.

When exiting the bath house, use your towel to dry yourself as much as possible, then wring it out before going back to the changing room.

Don'ts in Onsen

Don’t take a bath with your swimsuit on.

Don’t get into the bath before rinsing your body.

Don’t soak your hair in the tub. Please tie your hair up if you have long hair!

Don’t rub your body inside the bath.

Don’t take towels into the bath.

Don’t take a bath immediately after drinking alcohol.

Don’t take a bath without rinsing your body after using the sauna.

Don’t bring your smartphone or camera into the bath house.

Don’t enter the onsen if you have tattoos.

Don’t add cold water into the bath for cooling down, even if it's too hot for you.

Don’t speak loudly.

Don’t swim in the bath.

Onsen with your children

It is said that if your child is younger than six years old, they can enter both the male and female bath houses, generally speaking. There are different rules in each onsen place, so please double check to see what the onsen’s policy is.

Onsen water might contain some ingredients that may be irritating for infants, so please ask the staff and make sure whether or not it is safe before entering.