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Onsen in Japan

Ramat Gan, Israel
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Onsen in Japan

Hi all,

I have a strange question about the onsens in Japan -

In case of the real authentic traditional onsen - is it a complementary to get inside naked?

Although it's weird to me I don't really mind, but for my girlfriend it's really a deal breaker.

If that's the case - what about more touristic Onsens? (although I guess it's quite pointless)

Tokyo, Japan
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1. Re: Onsen in Japan

The answer is YES.

Tokyo and California
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for Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Shinjuku, Japan
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2. Re: Onsen in Japan

>>In case of the real authentic traditional onsen - is it a complementary to get inside naked?<<

It's not complementary, but required. Nobody gets into authentic onsen with anything on. If your GF has a problem with it, find a place that offers a private onsen bath.

Ramat Gan, Israel
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3. Re: Onsen in Japan

Thanks

How expensive and how common are these private baths?

Queenstown, New...
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4. Re: Onsen in Japan

I assume that you realise that most onsen are segregated, completely separate areas for men and women?

'When in Rome...'

Apart from visiting private onsen, where you still must bath naked, look for smaller, remote onsen and go earlier in the day, sometimes you can get the baths to yourself.

Other people bathing really don't care about your body, they won't be sitting there starting... and the 'modesty' towel can be used while moving from changing area to shower to Bath

London, England
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5. Re: Onsen in Japan

"private osen" tend to be a facility to book a small osen for a couple or family at a ryoken, although the minsukus I stayed at in Tsumago and in Nikko each had an osen bath that you could book a time slot for and could therefore be used by a couple together.

The one in Nikko was inside but had a great view of woods.

Osens are one of the great joys of Japan and, I believe, that almost all are gender segregated. IME, even business hotels (at least outside of Tokyo) have baths on the roof from where you can sit, contemplate the stars and soak away all the aches and concerns of the day.

Edited: 03 May 2014, 22:47
SF
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for Fukuoka, Kyushu-Okinawa
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6. Re: Onsen in Japan

What is her concern? Does she want to bathe separately or together? If separate, as said above. If together, an option is time chartered(30-50min.) private kashikiri onsen, unless you pay for an expensive room with the smallest size onsen bath like a hot tub. The least desirable is a family bath, indoor, often no view and for a family with kids. In this case you take turn bathing by placing a tag on the door to show occupied so other people do not come in.

Kashikiri onsen is often with no extra cost(unless for a day use), larger and often indoor but you can find outdoor roten rock bath, if you look for, depending on where you go.

We stay at a ryokan with kashikiri outdoor roten rock bath so my wife doesn't get lonely.

Melbourne,Australia
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7. Re: Onsen in Japan

I'm in my 50s and was also somewhat hesitant about baring my lumps and bumps in public. However I wanted to experience an onsen so bit the bullet and gave it a go. In fact I tried onsens in 5 different locations. 3 I had completely to myself, while in the other 2 people were just arriving or departing when I was there, so again I was essentially alone in the tub.

You just realise that everyone is doing the same as you so it is ridiculous to worry about being naked.

Tokyo, Japan
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8. Re: Onsen in Japan

Nobody takes a look at other person's body when there is common sense that you shouldn't and where there is great view facing the ocean or forested mountain valley. People of the same sex have similar body parts anyway and only a very special minority would take interest.

It's the local thing. I can't expect to order beefburger in India or chopsticks at a French restaurant in Paris. I don't order spaghetti in Naples and expect in tomato ketchup sauce like a Napolitan Sphagetti served in Japan. In Japan, onsen is to be enjoyed in large pools segregated by sex without anything on. I assume that the Tibelias Spa in Palestine is enjoyed in a different way and I won't go there naked if I shouldn't.

Edited: 04 May 2014, 14:28
Tokyo, Japan
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9. Re: Onsen in Japan

But in Japan, if you don't mind small bathtub without much view (in many cases), you can opt for onsen attached to the room at some hotel/ryokans.

You can check out hotel booking sites such as Rakuten, Jalan, or Japanican.

Edited: 04 May 2014, 14:37
Ramat Gan, Israel
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10. Re: Onsen in Japan

thanks everybody!