This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.

Free international shipping on orders over 150 USD

Onsen: World-Class Japanese Hot Springs

Posted by Akira.Hirose on
Onsen: World-Class Japanese Hot Springs

The Japanese are accustomed to bathing in onsen, or hot springs, which are easily accessible to many. Japan has about 10% of the world’s active volcanoes, and it is blessed with volcanic hot springs. In addition to the quality of its hot springs’ waters, Japan has an overwhelmingly large number of onsen.


 An Abundance of Hot Springs

Japan has an abundance of hot springs with approximately 27,000 of them, including 4,400 in Oita Prefecture which has the largest number of onsen. In addition, the total output of hot springs in Japan, including both naturally gushing and powered onsen, is more than 2.5 million liters per minute. Because of this large volume, Japan is one of the world's leading hot spring countries. Including lodging facilities and public bathhouses, there are more than 20,000 hot spring facilities in all of Japan's 47 prefectures.

beppu onsen

The History of Onsen

There are many antiquities and documents that show the relationship between the Japanese and hot springs. Traces of onsen usage 6000 years ago were found in Jomon period ruins.  The term “onsen” was first used in fudoki (record of a region’s climate, culture, and geography); and the word also appears in records such as the “Kojiki” (“Record of Ancient Matters”), the “Nihonshoki” (“Chronicles of Japan”), and the Manyoshu, Japan’s oldest anthology of poems. Since then, people have been soothed by hot springs, using them to recover from ailments and to warm their bodies. With warm water that gushes out naturally, hot springs have been treasured and revered as sacred waters that treat ailments and injuries.

According to the previously mentioned records, Dogo Onsen in Ehime Prefecture, Shirahama Onsen in Wakayama Prefecture, and Arima Onsen in Hyogo Prefecture are the three oldest hot springs in Japan.

dogo onsen

shirahama onsen

arima onsen

Enjoying the charms of onsen through travel and sightseeing

The areas surrounding hot springs in Japan have been developed into tourist attractions, so aside from bathing, the Japanese way of enjoying hot springs include savoring the scenery and atmosphere of onsen inns and onsen towns. Tourists can experience much of the local area by trying open-air and indoor baths, visiting famous landmarks, and sampling the local cuisine.


The Japanese have long developed their unique onsen culture by utilizing the natural benefits of hot springs for maintaining good health and using them as tourist attractions. Hot springs are also popular among foreign tourists as a way to experience Japan’s charms. The general term for hot springs may be onsen, but the aroma, hues, efficacies, and substances in their waters vary; and the breadth and depth of onsen are part of its allure. Travel around the country to discover these differences and the many charms of Japanese hot springs.


← Older Post Newer Post →


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published