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Top 14 Hot Springs in Japan You Need to Visit on Your Next Vacation

9 mins. read

Japan is a country with so many facets that only a true traveller would be able to appreciate it. Be it the active volcanoes, serene islands, delicious food or rich culture, everything about this tourist destination is captivating. But there is one thing that sets it apart from all other countries, i.e., the hot water springs. Traditionally known as onsens, these hot water springs are beloved by the locals since time immemorial. Based on varied traditions, there is an etiquette for enjoying a hot water bath at these natural springs. Everyone is expected to have towels and onsen-appropriate clothing that make the experience comfortable and respectful. Are you fascinated by the idea of bathing in salt and sulphur water springs on your vacation? After exploring the tourist attractions and temples in Japan, your itinerary should include a trip to an onsen. Here are 14 hot water springs in Japan that will make your body and soul feel instantly rejuvenated:

1. Kurokawa Onsen

One of the most beautiful hot springs in Japan is Kurokawa Onsen located in Kyushu, an island in the southwestern part of the country. Since there are active volcanoes in this region, there are natural hot springs that the Japanese people like to visit quite often. With a rich history of feudal lords taking a stopover at Kurokawa during their expeditions, this onsen has become a tourist attraction for foreigners and domestic travellers alike. It would be best to take a cab from Fukoka Airport to this hot springs town in Japan as there are no direct trains available.

2. Kinosaki Onsen

Traditional onsens in Japan have certain rules and regulations that everyone must follow. Private onsens even restrict people with tattoos from bathing. However, there are some hot springs in Japan that have an open-minded approach. Kinosaki Onsen is one example of this! Situated in northern Hyogo Prefecture, it has seven hot springs that are tattoo-friendly with lenient rules. On your way to this region, you can devour some mouth-watering seafood as well.

3. Beppu Onsen

Beppu Onsen

If you are looking for a resort in Japan with hot springs then Beppu is the perfect place for you! Renowned as the capital of onsens in the country, it has eight onsens in and around ryokans and resorts. If you are curious about the “Hell Tour” that includes a visit to the hottest onsens in Beppu, then make sure you are fully hydrated and well-fed. It is literally described as “burning hell” because of the extremely high temperatures but the health benefits are aplenty!

4. Ginzan Onsen

Set along the Ginzan river, this hot spring area is nothing short of a Japanese fairytale come true. Colloquially known as the “silver mountain hot spring”, it is situated in Yamagata Prefecture in the western part of Honshu Island. More than the onsen, you will fall in love with the picturesque beauty of this region! It is especially during nighttime when gas lamps are lit all around the hot springs, giving a surreal ambience.

5. Kusatsu Onsen

Kusatsu Onsen

Kusatsu Onsen is reputed as one of the most popular hot springs in Japan by travellers from all over the world. This is because this hot spring area is more than what meets the eye. Expect the hottest springs, forest views, hiking trails, ski tracks, and a lot more! Kusatsu Onsen is located in the land-locked Gunma Prefecture of Honshu Island where you can find you can top-rated onsen ryokans and resorts. If you are a skin-care buff, then buy some Yu no Hana hot spring powder from this area to make your skin glow brighter than the sun!

6. Nozawa Onsen

Nozawa Onsen has hot springs in Japan that will make your vacation a memorable experience. Why, you ask? This village in the Nagano Prefecture has created a world of its own with absolutely no intrusion from outside influences. Whether you want to relax at a communal Japanese onsen or ski on the slopes, Nozawa Onsen has it all for you! Cinephiles who fell in love with the sets of “Spirited Away” can experience it in real life at this onsen village in Japan.

7. Hakone Onsen

By now, it is quite evident that Japan has a number of onsen towns spread across its islands. Due to this reason, many Japan holiday packages include a trip to an onsen. Since there are several health benefits of taking a bath in a hot spring, you should visit Hakone Onsen, a town with family-friendly parks, mountain hiking trails, and private hinoki baths. It is reputed for its thermal spa resorts that have made Kanagawa Prefecture one of the most searched tourist destinations in Japan!

8. Yufuin Onsen

POV: A valley amidst the beautiful foothills of Mt. Yufu in front of your eyes and a hot water spring beside you. Sounds like a fantasy come true? Yufuin Onsen can make your vacation in Japan simply unforgettable with its coffee and wine baths, thermal spa slides, and pool with caves! Calling this onsen town exotic in Japan would be an understatement. Cherry blossoms, mustard flowers, and the winter snow make this place a sight for sore eyes.

9. Arima Onsen

Hyogo Prefecture’s Kobe is not only famous for its lip-smacking steaks but also for its hot springs located in Arima. That’s right! After hogging the most delicious Kobe beef, you can relax at a luxurious resort or ryokan in Arima Onsen. Legend has it that it had been founded 1300 years ago and was often visited by the nobility. Keeping this heritage in mind, Arima Onsen has become a unique tourist destination in Japan where luxurious hot springs are highly popular.

10. Noboribetsu Onsen

Noboribetsu Onsen in Hokkaido is an intriguing sight with bubbling sulphur, aluminium, and salt springs flowing in nine different locations. The sheer volume of hot water found in this onsen in Japan has made many tourists curious. It is because of its “hellfire” ambience that the popularity of Noboribetsu Onsen has never diminished. Make sure to have sufficient time in your itinerary so that you can experience this distinct spa town.

11. Yamashiro Onsen

According to folklore, a bird with wounded wings was able to heal at the hot water springs in Yamashiro centuries ago. Owing to this legend, Ishikawa Prefecture’s onsen resort, Yamashiro, has appealed to writers and poets from all over the world. They like to spend time in this mystical region, appreciate the beauty of Japan, and write in peace. If you would prefer bathing in Japan’s hot springs peacefully, then this is the place to be!

12. Atami Onsen

A beach town right next to Tokyo city that has a number of hot springs is Atami. This is one of the most-visited onsens in Japan not only because of its proximity to a metropolitan area but also because of the high salt in its water. Even if you have a packed itinerary, it is still possible to visit Atami Onsen! Make sure to follow the onsen etiquette and decorum so the locals do not feel uncomfortable.

13. Shibu Onsen

Popular for its ancient temples and shrines, Shibu is one of the oldest towns in the Nagana Prefecture. Its hot water springs are very popular among the locals so if you really want to get along with them, visit this onsen and you’re in! In fact, it is also considered the top romantic onsens in Japan. A couple’s trip with a bath in the hot water springs of Shibu will surely be memorable, isn’t it?

14. Gero Onsen

Travellers who like to have a wholesome experience on their vacation should keep Gero Onsen on their bucket list. This is simply because it is a resort town that offers a mix of hot water baths, outdoor activities, and historical walks.

The hot water springs in Japan are calling your name! Are you listening? Book your holiday package to Japan and experience the magic of these thermal baths.

March 19, 2023


Veena World
Veena World

We are an Indian travel company founded in 2013 and excel at domestic and international tour packages including guided group tours, specialty tours, customized holidays, corporate MICE travel, inbound travel and destination weddings.

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