Japanese onsens have been used as places of healing for around 3,000 years. While they’ve recently become popular with tourists and westerners, these natural hot springs are still considered places of healing first and foremost.
As such, most onsens still require visitors to follow traditional etiquette. Many of these rules are common sense, such as staying quiet and not splashing around. This helps ensure that you are not disrupting other visitors at the onsen. Part of what makes onsens so appealing is how peaceful they are, and nobody wants to be the one to spoil that for everybody else.
Something to keep in mind (that westerners may not be used to) are the rules against tattoos. Tattoos are generally taboo in Japan due to their use in organized crime. While they are becoming more common with younger generations, they are still often forbidden in public spaces such as gyms and onsens. If you are tatted up and still want to enjoy a healing soak, there are a handful of Japanese onsens that allow tattoos as long as they are small or you keep them covered.
Hopefully, this handy infographic will help inspire you to spend some relaxing time in one of Japan’s beautiful, natural hot springs. Just make sure that you know the do’s and don’ts before you visit!