Onsen etiquette can be confusing for a foreigner visiting for the first time, and there are many small rules and customs that even many Japanese people aren’t quite clear on. There aren’t usually any written instructions around the baths as it is expected that everyone will already know the basic customs surrounding communal bathing. This means that things people who have grown up in Japan take for granted, such as putting your shoes in a locker when you arrive or knowing which towels to use for what, can be hard to figure out for first-timers, and your supposedly relaxing spa break can become a little bit stressful.
Check out the video below to see how our Japan Wish competition winner Ashley navigated her first ever trip to an onsen and see if she found it relaxing…or stressful!
After putting Ashley through the rigors of the Tokyo rush hour, we were feeling a little bit guilty, so we decided to take her for a relaxing soak in a natural hot spring, or onsen, to wash off the sweat of a train car full of salarymen. Of course, you usually have to go into the onsen completely nude, but we got special permission to wear bathing suits and towels for filming purposes. After all, RocketNews24 is a respectable website!
Before actually getting into the water you have to wash yourself thoroughly and then do something called kakeyu, where you pour hot warm water over your body, starting from the extremities, to get yourself ready for the hot water of the onsen. These pre-bath rituals were probably the most difficult bits for our guest to figure out, but she got there in the end!
First we sampled the large indoor bath which was extremely hot and, although we were there first thing in the morning, would be great in the evening for melting away the stress of a hard day at work.
Afterwards we moved outside to the variety of different baths the spa provides in the open air. There’s something incredibly relaxing about being able to hear the sounds of the wild while floating in naturally heated spring water.
There are also several other open-air baths including a ‘fragrant’ onsen and a cold plunge pool. While a lot of aspects were completely new to her, Ashley certainly enjoyed her time at the spa, and especially liked the elevated pool shown below which made her feel “like a boss”.
If you’re in Tokyo, then we highly recommend checking out everything the Yumori no Sato onsen has to offer. With a variety of both indoor and outdoor baths, as well as a footbath and plenty of food and drink to enjoy, you could spend the whole day there just chilling, maxing, and relaxing. And if you’re worried about committing some kind of onsen faux-pas, you can check out our handy English guide here for everything you need to know.
A big thanks to Yumori no Sato for allowing us to film inside the onsen!
Yumori no Sato
Address: Jindaiji Motomachi 2-12-2, Chofu, Tokyo 182-0017
Opening hours: 10am to 10pm
Website: Yumori no Sato
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