A little information about onsen

The best way to enjoy an onsen is by soaking in the hot water in a relaxed manner without thinking about anything.

But the more you know about onsen, the more ways you can discover to enjoy them. Let’s learn a little about onsen here so we can fully enjoy them.

Is Nagano prefecture an “Onsen Kingdom”?

Nagano Prefecture—formerly called Shinshu—is one of the most famous “Onsen Kingdoms” in Japan, with 236 onsen (2nd in Japan), 1,043 gensen (6th), and hot spring water flowing at 133,787 liters per minute (5th). Rich in a variety of hot spring qualities, eleven typical types of spring can be found in this prefecture.

What advantages or positive effects can be expected from onsen?

Three functions can be expected from an onsen:
1. A “Chemical function,” which facilitates recovery from illness by absorption through the skin and drinking onsen elements.
2. A “Psychological function,” which helps reduce stressors and has a positive influence on the mind and body through the experience of the natural environment and atmosphere of the onsen area, away from daily life.
3. A “Physical function,” which means the temperature and water pressure of the onsen stimulates the metabolism and helps recovery from fatigue.

How is the hot spring water drawn to each bathhouse?

The act of drawing hot spring water from the gensen to the bathtub is called intou. There are three methods of drawing water, and each onsen facility chooses the most suitable one depending on the situation: 1) Drawing directly from the gensen; 2) Drawing from a communal hot water storage facility; 3) Delivery by tank truck or plastic tanks. All of the soto-yu at Nozawa-onsen use method 1) drawing their hot water directly from the gensen.

What is the etiquette for taking a communal bath in Japan?

Washing your body before getting in the bathtub, not jumping into the bathtub, not bringing your towel into the bathtub, and drying your body with your towel before going back to the dressing room are considered the basics. Let’s try to keep maintain good manners and show consideration for others so everyone can enjoy the onsen comfortably.

The public onsen bath house soto-yu guide