The Best Onsens Around Japan

Japan's Top Onsen Retreats

Japan's onsen culture beautifully encapsulates the nation's affinity for the art of healing and relaxation. Nestled within tranquil and scenic locales, these natural hot springs are havens of peace, offering blissful retreats from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Here are some of the best onsens around Japan, inviting you to immerse yourself in their tranquil beauty and rejuvenating waters:

1. Noboribetsu Onsen, Hokkaido

In Hokkaido's volcanic domain, Noboribetsu Onsen shines for its diverse mineral-rich springs emanating from the ethereal Jigokudani, or Hell Valley. The healing properties of its waters, coupled with the surreal landscape, beckon any onsen aficionado.

2. Hakone Yuryo, Hakone

Hakone Yuryo, set against the lush mountains of Hakone, offers a quintessential onsen experience. With both private and public baths enveloped in serene natural vistas, it stands as an idyllic escape for those in search of tranquillity.

3. Tenzan Tohji-kyo, Hakone

Tenzan Tohji-kyo, another jewel of Hakone, is famed for its open-air baths that blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings. The rustic charm and the rising steam from the hot springs forge an ambiance of enduring peace.

4. Dogo Onsen Honkan, Ehime

Boasting over a millennium of history, Dogo Onsen Honkan in Ehime Prefecture stands as one of Japan's most venerable hot springs. Its architectural splendour mirrors the rich heritage, presenting a unique blend of culture and healing.

5. Hotel Iyaonsen, Tokushima

Hidden within Tokushima's secluded valleys, Hotel Iyaonsen offers an unparalleled onsen experience with baths accessible solely by cable car. The exclusive sense of unity with nature here promises a memorable sojourn.

6. Yufuin Onsen, Oita

Against the majestic backdrop of Mount Yufu, Yufuin Onsen emerges as a picturesque sanctuary. The area's scenic beauty complements the thermal baths, creating a harmonious blend of nature and rejuvenation.

7. Takaragawa Onsen, Gunma

Takaragawa Onsen in Gunma Prefecture is celebrated for its expansive outdoor baths alongside the Takaragawa River. Encircled by verdant forests, it offers a therapeutic refuge for both mind and body.

8. Sukayu Onsen, Aomori

Famed for its "Sennin-buro," or thousand-person bath, Sukayu Onsen in Aomori presents a communal bathing experience in a cypress wood bath, amidst the snow-clad Hakkoda Mountains. Its acidic, sulfuric waters promise relief from various ailments, embodying the essence of a traditional Japanese onsen.

9. Arima Onsen, Hyogo

Arima Onsen, nestled in the mountains near Kobe, is one of the oldest hot springs in Japan. Its golden and clear waters, rich in minerals, have been soothing visitors for centuries, offering a deep dive into Japan's onsen heritage.

10. Kurokawa Onsen, Kumamoto

Kurokawa Onsen, set in the picturesque landscapes of Kumamoto, offers a charmingly rustic hot spring experience. Its small-scale, traditional ryokans and outdoor baths scattered along the river provide a tranquil escape, epitomizing the timeless allure of Japanese onsens.

Before You Visit

Before you embark on your soothing journey to Japan's esteemed onsens, there are some essential tips and etiquette to consider ensuring your experience is as peaceful and enjoyable as possible. To get the most out of your visit and truly embrace the cultural and therapeutic aspects of onsen bathing, we highly recommend reading our guide which covers everything from entry procedures to bathing etiquette, helping you navigate the tranquil waters of Japan's hot springs with ease and respect.