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onsen in summer?

Denver, Colorado
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onsen in summer?

I am interested in experiencing the world of Onsen, but will be in Kyushu and Kyoto area during late July and early August. Won't it be far too hot to enjoy the pleasant beauty of hot springs at that time?

4 replies to this topic
SF
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for Fukuoka, Kyushu-Okinawa
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1. Re: onsen in summer?

We like taking onsen anytime in the snow or hot summer days. Wash off the sweat first and sweat out more in hot onsen, like taking sauna, then you will feel better & cooler afterward. Private Kashikiri or in-room outdoor roten onsen is good to take turns dipping and cooling off as you please naked & looking around the scenery all to yourself or selves. Sometimes we take a plastic bottle of water with us for hydration.

In Yufuin onsen town we often take a stroll in Yukata & geta(Japanese wooden clog) in the evening after onsen/dinner and stand on a bridge in the breeze, and/or have shaved ice/chilled water melon/beer.

Denver, Colorado
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2. Re: onsen in summer?

Thank you, amazinga, that sounds lovely.

Here in the US, we enjoy some hot springs naked, others in bathing suits, and others it's optional. How is it in Japan?

I will be traveling with my 79 yr. old mother-in-law, who has no trouble being naked with me or other women (not so sure about guys, though). Also we are traveling on a budget, so I'm guessing we won't be able to afford private, luxurious places.

I love the simplicity and "being out in nature" parts. I looked up Yufuin - that sounds a little more remote and less touristed than Beppu. I'd prefer that. Do you have any other suggestions as to where we should go?

SF
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for Fukuoka, Kyushu-Okinawa
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3. Re: onsen in summer?

Ya, I know some hidden places along the CA coasts, too. We often go to the nature onsen downstream of Hoover Dam in NV. My son & I wear swimsuits but the last time 2 young ladies came in w/o any.

Kamuiwakka in Hokkaido or other onsens in nature(not private commercial property) are clothes optional in Japan. Watch out for very old guys who often don't wear any in those places or see through wet summer pants at beaches. lol.

Onsen in Japan is basically no clothes on & gender separated unless theme parks or thermal pool.

If no problem with no clothes, use this standard set up. It is usually the largest bath & included in the rate, often outdoor.

Time reserved private is also no or a small extra surcharge, if you stay. If a day use, it costs more. One ryokan we frequently stay in Yufuin is surprisingly still in the lower rate ranges. It has no one large bath but three no cost kashikiri time reserved private outdoor onsens. See here:

www.yawaraginosato.com/onsen_yawaragi.htm

Others are family baths which are the least desirable, i.e. often no or small window, indoor, no view, etc.

In-room type is most expensive but it is usually a hot tub size & small & won't fit your style.

Beppu is too touristy, IMO. You can walk around Yufuin town with many street vendors, shops, art & craft galleries, restaurants, cafes, etc..

There are many good onsen places well known to foreigners in Kyushu, i.e.Kurokawa, Aso, Kirishima, Ibusuki, Unzen, etc. besides many other Japanese tourist oriented onsen towns.

No real onsen in Kyoto city so experience in Kyushu..

Edited: 31 May 2012, 22:53
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4. Re: onsen in summer?

Yufuin is a lovely town (it is very, very touristy but rather tasteful & picturesque) you could spend a couple of days here relaxing. It's quite easy to reach by train or bus.

Onsen are always done naked. There's a public onsen by the big hotspring pond in Yufuin it's mixed bathing. Apart from the occasional mixed public Onsen most are usually gender segregated nowadays. It's handy to know the Japanese characters for man 男 & woman 女 (good for knowing which toilet to use too)

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