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Five rules to learn before you enter an onsen (hot spring)

For Japanese people of all ages, hot springs are a place of spiritual and physical relaxation and a popular leisure destination. Visitors from abroad may at first feel unused to the idea of disrobing in front of strangers, but once you begin to appreciate the hot spring's pleasures, you will definitely want to return! There are a number of rules for using hot springs that visitors should know. Here, we present five of them to follow to avoid embarrassment during a visit!

Rule 1: Wash before you get in!

Entering the hot spring room and going straight to the hot tub or pool is against the rules! Before getting in, you must wash yourself off.

Rule 2: Do not bring your towel into the hot tub!

Although you may feel shy, you should not wrap a towel around your waist as you get in or put your hand towel into the hot tub. Bath towels should not be brought into the hot spring room.

Rule 3: Tie up long hair!

If your hair is long, it is best to tie it with a band so that it does not hang down into the hot tub.

Rule 4: Dry off before leaving!

When you have soaked long enough in the hot spring, do not go straight back to the changing room if you are still dripping wet. Pause at the door of the hot spring room to wipe yourself down lightly with a hand towel before leaving.

Rule 5: Put everything back where you found it!

After using the stool, washing bowl, showerhead and other implements in the hot spring room, make sure to return them to their original location. You should finish by rinsing them lightly with the shower to leave them clean and free of residue for the next user.

One of the charms of the hot spring is meeting and chatting with new people! Even if it is your first visit to a hot spring, make sure to follow the rules and you will be sure to enjoy the company!

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