How to set up an onsen in your own home

By Master Blaster

One of Japan’s greatest features is its many natural hot springs called onsens. Thanks to its highly volcanic location, Japan’s countryside is dotted with resorts welcoming tourists all year round.

For some foreigners visiting or living in Japan, public bathing isn’t a very appealing recreation. Reasons for this include tattoos which are considered verboten in many onsens, and the fact that foreigners tend to stick out like a sore thumb and might draw uncomfortable stares while bathing.

Now there’s another way to enjoy the relaxing and curative properties of a natural hot spring in the comfort of your own bathroom. If you want to know how, then give our easy manual “How to Set Up an Onsen in Your Own Home” a quick read.

The key to making your own onsen is that many Japanese onsens actually offer bathe-in or take-out service. If you didn’t know you could order hot spring water to go, don’t feel bad. Most Japanese people don’t know either.


Before going to the onsen you’re going to have to buy some containers to carry the water. I bought 4 foldable containers that hold 20 liters each for about 600 yen a pop. You probably have realized at this point that your either going to need a car or a team of strong people to carry the water.


Go to the onsen you want to buy from. You may want to call ahead to confirm that they offer the water for take-out. I chose Yukari Jindaiji Onsen in Chofu, Tokyo. When you get there, you’ll have to find the “Onsen Stand” which is a place where you can tap into the main water source.

For this place the “Onsen Stand” doesn’t even really exist. You just fill the container up off of a pipe. In any case you should just ask the staff for assistance. I bought 80 liters of hot spring water for a total of 3,600 yen.


Drive the water home by car, unless you’re freakishly strong. Then start pouring it into the bathtub. Don’t forget to dilute it like the sign instructed; 3 parts hot water to 1 part onsen water.

How about that? Just three easy steps and you can have an onsen in the comfort of your own home. One final word of advice: Don’t leave the hot spring water sitting in the bath tub for too long. The colored onsen water will begin to stain the bath tub if left in there. To be safe, if you fill the tub in the evening you should probably empty it out by the next morning. Happy soaking!

Original Story by Toshio at Pouch (Japanese)

© RocketNew24

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Wasn't there a scandal a few years ago that found that most onsen use tap water anyway?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I thought this article was about how to build a real hot spring in your house, not just where to buy natural hot spring water. That was a little disappointing.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Hatsumi: I agree...I was looking forward to being told how to make a nice onsen or at least hurn my bathroom into something comparable. I think it is much easier just to buy the onsen salts to add. Those are also much easier to carry home. But one hint I can also add...but a hinoki bath set (little stool, ladle, bucket). It will fill the air with the smell and make you think that you are in a hot spring if you close your eyes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Go to onsen, pay 500 yen to bathe there > Go to onsen, pay 3,600 (+2,400 for containers) to get some water from a tap, schlepp it back to your house, and bathe in your dinky little tub after you've diluted the water anyway.

The math here isn't adding up for me.

3 ( +3 / -0 )


Buy a Onsen


Hire a staff


Work 17 hours a day


Soak in your tub

1 ( +1 / -0 )


Without bacteria killing solutions and technology, this is a bad idea.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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