How To Behave At Onsen: Honor The Japanese “Onsen Communication”
New to the world of Japanese hot springs and wondering how to behave at onsen? You might not have guessed one of the most important points is communication! In fact, one of the be…
Out of the three below options, which do you think is an important rule to the Beppu citizens entering the hot spring?
A. sit on the edge of the onsen to make it a foot bath.
B. do not sit on the edge so that people can lean their heads on the rim instead.
C. wear glasses to better enjoy the steam.
The correct answer is B, “Do not sit on the edge.” However, even Japanese people who are not familiar with Beppu’s customs do now know this. In some other parts of Japan, it is ok to soak only your legs, or to sit on the edge while taking a break.
In Beppu’s hot springs, people like to relax by resting their head on the rim of the bath, so sitting on the edge of the bath is like sitting naked on someone’s pillow! Therefore, this is an important rule to the locals which is followed diligently.
Therefore, you should definitely strive to avoid sitting on the edge and instead use it as a pillow with the local people.
If you wish to have a foot bath, there are other, specially marked locations where this is encouraged, but it will be written on a sign somewhere nearby. Many foot baths in Beppu can be found. For example, at the Umi Jigoku (Sea Hell) and the Chinoike Jigoku (Blood Pool Hell) on the Beppu Hells Tour, so please stop by and enjoy it there.
As a side note, the answer B suggests you wear glasses, but this can actually be dangerous because they will not defog and prevent you from seeing in front of you. Also, the metal parts will rust easily in the steam from the hot springs, so contacts are a better choice while in the onsen. In Japan, they also sell special bathroom glasses specifically meant to not fog up while in the bath. Please keep this in mind and enjoy the hot springs safely.
Now that you know the onsen rules, you will definitely want to visit Beppu’s Onsen, which are the best in Japan. Why not come immerse yourself in the ancient, deeply-rooted onsen culture and enjoy becoming one with the local residents?
How to get to Beppu onsen
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You can also ask local guides to show around, so feel free to take a test!