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A guide to onsen in Japan: Recommended hot spring destinations

12 Comments
By cinnamonellie, grape Japan

Onsen (温泉) represents an important part of the Japanese culture and has been one of the most popular activities to do if you are visiting Japan.

Not only you can relax in a hot spring after sightseeing, but you get to enjoy spa treatments, relaxing massages, and eat delicious meals while going to onsen resorts here.

Here are four of my picks:

1. Noboribetsu Onsen

The Noboribestu Onsen was one of the first onsens I’ve ever been to, and after the whole experience, I fell in love with hot springs in Japan.

It is located in the beautiful Hokkaido, and after a long day, a relaxing bath in the iron springs will release all the fatigue you accumulated during the day.

The hot springs there have so many benefits for your skin, and are said to have a glowing and lightening effect on it.

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2. Ibusuki Hot Spring

This particular onsen is a sand bath that will relieve body aches while making your skin smooth. The term in Japanese is sunamushi and you will relax and let the sand do the work for you. You will get covered in sand up to your neck, and if you had any muscle pain, you’ll be surprised to find out how fast it will disappear thanks to the benefits of sunamushi.

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3. Hakone Onsen

Hakone is a well-known area for hot springs, and besides onsen, you can also enjoy many treatments and spa facilities while there.

It is a great place to visit, easy to access if coming from Tokyo with a lot of activities to do, places to see, and nice onsen areas to get rid of the fatigue accumulated during the day.

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4. Kusatsu Onsen

Kusatsu Onsen has many hot springs you can try out, and it is a lovely area. You will also discover the Hot water fields(Yubatake/ 湯畑), and while there, make sure to look around for souvenirs and local food.

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These are my top four recommendations for onsens in Japan.

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© grape Japan

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12 Comments
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kusatsu is absolute garbage. I will NEVER go there again. HATED it.

for a truly wonderful experience go to nearby Shima onsen. tucked in the middle of the mountains it is a gem. its like nothing you will ever experience. its in nakanojomachi.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Aly Rustom

Thanks a lot for that info! I am planning to go there this weekend. you saved my trip. Thanks!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Aly, I don't know where you went, but Kusatsu is wonderful, especially in winter when you have ski options.

Hakone has the big advantage to be close to Tokyo. In the same lines, I like Izu, salty onsen water while watching the ocean.

And I think Kyushu onsens such as the famous Beppu deserve to be on the list.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

We went to a great onsen near Suzaka in Nagano. Outdoors and joint bathing but I can't remember the name. Arima in Kobe but never on a National Holiday. In autumn take the ropeway across the beautiful mountains.

There are many good onsens like overlooking the sea.

I can't go anymore because of my prostate removal.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Aly, I don't know where you went, but Kusatsu is wonderful, especially in winter when you have ski options.

I hated Kusatsu because the people there were extremely rude. I just had a terrible experience and have vowed NEVER to return. To each his own. I personally would recommend Shima Onsen in Nakanojomachi as it is beyond incredible and the people who work in the area are so kind and friendly.. I can't stress enough how Shima should be given a go..

Hakone has the big advantage to be close to Tokyo. In the same lines, I like Izu, salty onsen water while watching the ocean.

Never been to Hakone although I always have wanted to go...

And I think Kyushu onsens such as the famous Beppu deserve to be on the list.

Never been, but I've heard nothing but good stuff..

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Thanks a lot for that info! I am planning to go there this weekend. you saved my trip. Thanks!

I'm really glad my friend! Please let me know how it goes. Its gorgeous. I recommend taking walks around the town daytime and evening. Its up in the mountains so should be much colder. Please take a warm jacket and enjoy!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

 I personally would recommend Shima Onsen in Nakanojomachi as it is beyond incredible

I agree!

I went with my family 3 times to Shima Onsen!

It is really incredible!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Dogo Onsen (Ehime)

Nozawa Onsen (Nagano)

Zao Onsen (Yamagata)

Beppu Onsen (Oita)

Arima Onsen (Hyogo)

Iya Onsen (Tokushima)

Kusatsu Onsen (Gunma)

Onsen in Saga Prefecture

Hakone Onsen (Kanagawa)

Onsen in Kagoshima (I forgot the name but I went there in 2005)
1 ( +1 / -0 )

I agree!

I went with my family 3 times to Shima Onsen!

It is really incredible!

I'm super impressed Monty!! It is rare to find someone here who has been there! I don't know if you know this but Nakanojo town is also a Ninja town connected to the Sanada Ninja and they have a Small but very nice museum of Armor and ninja tools that really should be seen.

Seesaw7- If you have time, I recommend the museum after the onsen.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kino Saki Onsen. The best ever.

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I really like Takaragawa in Gunma. It's mixed, which is great, but they recently introduced towel-wearing as a result of an increase in foreign guests, which is a bit annoying.

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Kurokawa onsen

Beppu onsen

Arima onsen

Bessho onsen

Hakone onsen

Minakami onsen

Ginzan onsen

all very nice

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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