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How hot is a Japanese onsen?


Japanese onsens are natural hot springs that have been a part of Japanese culture for centuries. These hot springs have become popular tourist destinations around the world, attracting visitors who want to experience their therapeutic benefits, including relaxation and healing. However, many people are curious about the temperature of these hot springs, but how hot is a Japanese onsen exactly?

What is an onsen?

An onsen is a naturally occurring hot spring in Japan. The term “onsen” is often used to describe both the actual hot spring and the bathing facilities that are built around it. The water in an onsen must meet specific criteria for it to be considered an onsen, including being at least 25 degrees Celsius.

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How are onsens heated?

Onsens are heated by geothermal activity underground, which warms the water and creates a natural hot spring. The temperature of the water can vary depending on the location and depth of the hot spring, as well as other factors such as volcanic activity in the area.

The temperature range of onsens

The temperature of a Japanese onsen can range anywhere from 25 degrees Celsius to over 50 degrees Celsius. The water temperature can vary depending on the location and season, with some onsens being hotter in the winter months due to the colder air temperatures.

How do people adjust to different temperatures?

Japanese onsens often have different pools or baths with varying temperatures, allowing visitors to choose which pool they prefer based on their personal preference. Visitors can also gradually adjust to the heat by starting in a cooler pool and gradually moving to a hotter one.

What is the ideal temperature for an onsen?

The ideal temperature for an onsen varies depending on personal preference, but most people find a temperature between 38-42 degrees Celsius to be comfortable for soaking.

Benefits of soaking in an onsen

Soaking in an onsen has been said to have several health benefits, including relaxation, improved circulation, relief from muscle and joint pain, and skin health. Some people also believe that soaking in an onsen can help boost immunity and reduce stress levels.

Safety concerns

While onsens are generally safe for visitors to use, there are some safety concerns that visitors should be aware of. It is important not to stay in a hot pool for too long, as this can lead to dehydration or overheating. Visitors should also be careful not to slip or fall while entering or exiting the pools.

Etiquette in onsens

Visitors should be aware of proper etiquette when visiting an onsen. This includes washing thoroughly before entering the pools, not wearing swimwear in the pools, and keeping quiet while soaking.

The history of onsens

Onsens have been a part of Japanese culture for centuries, with evidence of their existence dating back to ancient times. They were originally used for ritual purification before eventually becoming popular for their therapeutic benefits.

The different types of onsens

There are several different types of onsens, including outdoor onsens (rotenburo), indoor onsens (uchiyu), mixed gender onsens (konyoku), and private onsens (kashikiri).


In conclusion, Japanese onsens are natural hot springs with varying temperatures depending on location and season. The ideal temperature for an onsen varies depending on personal preference but is generally between 38-42 degrees Celsius. Soaking in an onsen has several health benefits and has been a part of Japanese culture for centuries. Visitors should be aware of proper etiquette and safety concerns when visiting an onsen.

How long should I stay in an onsen?

The recommended frequency for bathing is once or twice a day, but for those who are accustomed to Onsen, they may enjoy it up to three times per day. The length of the bath should be 3-10 minutes, depending on the temperature of the water, but it can be extended to 15-20 minutes for those who are comfortable with it.

How hot is the water in an onsen pool?

The pools are heated to about 38.5 degrees Celsius, but if you feel that the water is too warm, you can easily cool it down by pressing the button next to your hot tub to add cold water.

How hot is the hottest onsen?

The hottest onsen (hot spring) in Japan is located in Yumura Onsen, Hyougo Prefecture, with water temperatures that can reach as high as 98 degrees Celsius (208.4 degrees Fahrenheit). This was reported in December 2013.

Can I use tampon in onsen?

If the device is properly placed and there are no leaks, then it’s okay to enter the onsen. If using a tampon, ensure the string is not visible and replace it immediately after leaving the onsen.

Who should avoid onsen?

Elderly people or people who have high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, heart disease, or disorders of the respiratory organs should not bathe in water that is 42°C or hotter.

Is it OK to wear a swimsuit in an onsen?

No clothes or bathing suits are allowed in the onsen bathing areas. People try hard to preserve the cleanliness of onsen. They are somewhat sacred places. Clothes and bathing suits can bring dirt and soap into the hot spring waters from outside and are, therefore, considered unhygienic.Nov 19, 2021

How to find onsens in Japan

Onsens can be found all over Japan, from small towns to large cities. Many ryokans (traditional Japanese inns) and hotels offer onsen facilities for their guests. There are also public onsens that anyone can visit, often located near train stations or tourist attractions. Some onsens require reservations, while others allow walk-ins.

What to bring to an onsen

When visiting an onsen, it is important to bring a few essential items. Most onsens provide towels for visitors to use, but it is recommended to bring a small towel to use while soaking. Visitors should also bring a change of clothes and any toiletries they may need, such as shampoo and soap.

Onsens and tattoos

In Japan, tattoos are still associated with organized crime and can be seen as taboo in some situations. As a result, many onsens have rules prohibiting visitors with visible tattoos from entering the pools. However, some onsens have relaxed their rules in recent years, allowing visitors with small tattoos or those who cover their tattoos with bandages to enter.

Onsens outside of Japan

While Japan is known for its onsens, there are also natural hot springs around the world that offer similar benefits. Countries like Iceland, New Zealand, and Costa Rica have natural hot springs that attract tourists looking for relaxation and healing.

The future of onsens

As the popularity of onsens continues to grow, there are concerns about the impact on the environment and local communities. Some onsens have had to limit the number of visitors or close temporarily to preserve the natural resources. However, many onsens are working towards sustainable practices and eco-friendly initiatives to ensure their longevity for future generations to enjoy.

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