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How to Use a Japanese Hot Spring

Many people in the world enjoy soaking in a hot spring, especially after a long day of sightseeing. A Japanese hot spring is well-known for having unique features that make it different from other types of spas. Find out what to expect at a Japanese hot spring, what you need to do before you bathe and more!





What is a Japanese Hot Spring?


A Japanese hot spring is a natural spring where the water is heated by geothermal activity. These springs are found all over Japan and are a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. There are many different types of hot springs, each with its own unique benefits. Hot springs can be found in public bathhouses, resorts, or even in some private homes.





Bathing in a hot spring is said to have many health benefits, such as relieving stress, improving circulation, and helping to detoxify the body. The minerals in the water can also be beneficial for the skin.




How to use a hot spring properly


There are a few things you should know before you enjoy a hot spring in Japan. First, take off your shoes! Most locations will have you change into slippers at the entrance. Once you pay the entrance fee, then it's time to head into the locker room. The blue banner is for men and the red banner is for women. This is especially important to remember if you plan on visiting the same hot spring more than once, because many locations switch the men's and women's sides so because each side is different. The views and types of baths can be different, so changing sides is a good way for everyone to experience everything.





Once you stow your clothes in the locker, it's time to get cleaned up. Always wash your body thoroughly before entering the hot spring. The springs are communal and it's everyone's job not to contaminate the water. There is usually a shower area near or connected to the locker room where you can do this. You don’t have to bring any soap or shampoo because the facilities always provide their own, however, if you can't live without your tried and true products, then feel free to bring those. When you're clean, then it's time to soak in the hot water.





How to behave in the hot springs


If you're planning on visiting a Japanese hot spring, there are a few things you should know about etiquette. For starters, when you wash yourself thoroughly before getting in the spring you should grab a stool and a bucket. Some places will have them stacked in a corner and others will have them in front of the shower station. Just remember to put them back where you found them when done.





When you're in the spring, it's important to keep your voice down and avoid splashing water on other people. You should also avoid touching people or their belongings without permission.


Don't wear any clothes while soaking in the hot spring. Most people usually soak completely naked, while some bring a small towel with them. Don't bring any food or drink into the shower or hot spring area. They understand people can overheat, so there are almost always water fountains for people to make use of.


It is never recommended to drink the hot spring water.




Tattoos in the Hot Springs


Many people are unaware that some Japanese hot springs do not allow tattoos. This is because tattoos are associated with yakuza, or Japanese mafia. While most people with tattoos are not yakuza, the association is strong enough that many hot springs prefer to err on the side of caution and not allow them.


There are still many places that do allow tattoos, while others are still coming around. There are some places with the no tattoo rule that still might let you in if you have small unnoticeable tattoos. Still, it is always a good idea to check before hand.





We hope you enjoy your experience at a Japanese hot spring!




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