How to Take an Onsen

Onsen Etiquette: Dos and Don’ts



  1. Pay at the Entrance: You can purchase tickets for day use onsens at the entrance. Children under 12 are  usually half the price of adults.YuYu Pippu is ¥600 for adults/¥300 for kids.  If you didn’t bring your own bath-towel you can rent one. Small hand-towels are for sale. As you will read about below, the small hand towel has many uses so I highly recommend buying one. Once you’ve got yours you can use it at all other onsens, or you can collect them. The onsen logo is usually imprinted so makes great piece of memorabilia! At YuYu Pippu a bath-towel/hand-towel set is ¥300
  2. Use a Basket or Locker in the Changing Room: Place ALL your clothes and other items in a basket or locker in the changing room. Your large towel can be placed neatly on top of your things if using a basket. Bring your small towel with you to the washing area. Best to use the toilet before you enter the bathing area, kids especially! 
  3. Thoroughly Clean Yourself: Before entering the baths, take a seat at one of the provided stools and make sure to wash yourself well with the small towel and soap. Then rinse off all soap and shampoo from your body, your small towel, and the area around you.  Make sure to wring out excess water from your small towel, and tidy up your stool and bucket.

  4. Hair Ties and Clips: If you have long hair, tie it up or use a hair clip to prevent strands from contaminating the onsen water. Keeping hair out of the water is essential for hygiene. Make sure to keep your head and hair out of the water.

  5. Use a Small Hand Towel:  The small hand-towel can be used to modestly cover yourself while walking to the bath. You can also fold it up and place it on your head while you are in the bath (it is said to prevent fainting), or place it on the edge of the bath. Make sure the towel stays out of the bath water.

  6. Respect Personal Space: Maintain a comfortable distance from other bathers. Be mindful of others’ privacy and avoid splashing water on them. Enjoy the tranquil atmosphere without disrupting the experience for others in the bathing and changing areas.

  7. Silence is Golden: Keep noise to a minimum. Onsens are places for relaxation and contemplation. Refrain from loud conversations or disruptive behavior that might disturb others’ peace.

  8. Hydrate: Drink plenty of water before and after soaking to stay hydrated. The hot water can cause dehydration, so it’s crucial to replenish fluids. At YuYu Pippu there is a water fountain the bath area, another in the changing area, and also in the chill space/restaurant.

  9. Take It Slow: Enter the onsen slowly to allow your body to acclimate to the temperature. Take your time and savor the experience, focusing on relaxation and rejuvenation.


  1. No Diving, Splashing, or Swimming: Resist the urge to dive into the onsen or splash water excessively. It disrupts the peaceful environment and can bother other bathers.

  2. Avoid Submerging the Towel: Keep the small towel provided for modesty purposes, washing and drying your body, and avoid submerging it in the onsen water. Place it on the side of the bath or fold it neatly.

  3. Skip the Onsen If…: If you have open wounds, contagious skin conditions, or are feeling unwell, it’s best to avoid the onsen to prevent the spread of illness and maintain the well-being of others. People with tatoos are restricted from using some onsen. I think about half of all onsen in Japan have a strict no tatoo policy. If you’re not sure ask. Either way, try to be discreet. Some onsens used to have a strict “no foreigner policy”. It’s not legal to discriminate against foreigners but honestly I can understand why some places prefer not to have foreigners in the bath. Don’t be “that gaijin”.

  4. Leave Electronics Behind: Keep electronic devices, such as smartphones and cameras, out of the onsen and changing areas. Respect the serene atmosphere and privacy of fellow bathers.

  5. Avoid Prolonged Soaking: While soaking is enjoyable, don’t overstay your welcome. Prolonged periods in hot water can lead to dehydration and discomfort. Take breaks and listen to your body’s signals.

  6. Don’t Make a Mess: You are expected to clean up after yourself. Rinse away soap from your bathing spot. Don’t drip water on the floor in the changing area (or clean it up with the mop provided). Clean up hair left behind after using the hairdryer….

Remember, observing these dos and don’t ensures a harmonious onsen experience for everyone. Enjoy the therapeutic benefits and the serene ambiance of this traditional Japanese practice.

Regarding Children:

Kids (under 12) entry fees are usually half the price of an adult onsen ticket.

Kids 8 and under can enter with their mom or dad regardless of their sex. Once they are 9 years old they have to go into their respective sex segregated bath.

Kids are expected to follow all the same rules as adults. That means no swimming, playing, running, jumping, yelling, splashing….. An onsen is not a water park. It can be a great learning experience for kids to “do as the Romans do”…or in this case bathe as the Japanese do.

Where can you Bathe:

There are thousands of hotsprings and public bathing facilities throughout Japan. The rules apply everywhere. Just one thing to note: The very traditional baths may not have a sex segregated bath, although not very common, some places still provide mixed bathing options.

YuYu Pippu is only a 5 minute walk from Anya. The onsen is open from 10:00 – 22:00 everyday (last entry 21:30). There is a restaurant, small shop with snacks and local products, laundry machine and dryer, vending machines with drinks and alcohol.

A 1 day pass at Pippu Ski Resort includes an onsen ticket.



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