What should I do at an Onsen? (Hot Spring)

This was written by Joseph Tame, an Englishman who worked at Country Inn Milky House in the summer of 2002

The rituals of Japanese onsens

The first time I went to a Japanese onsen I really didn't know what to do. I hope that my advice helps you to relax and enjoy some of the best onsens in Japan - here in Niseko!

When you arrive at the Onsen, take your shoes off at the entrance and put on the slippers provided. Make your way to the changing room where you should take all of your clothes off and put them in a basket provided. If you have any valubles these can be safely kept in a small coin locker.

Enter the main bathroom. You should have a small towel with you - this is used for cleaning yourself with - and can also be used as a modesty towel to hide your bits with! In the main bathroom, take a little plastic stool and bowl, and seat yourself in front of one of the sets of taps/showers. Now, clean yourself from head to foot. After doing this rinse off all of the soap - it is very important that you don't get soap in the big bath.

mix outdoor bath 80 years ago "Utase-yu" Gosiki hot spring foot bath milky house main bathroom

Having cleaned yourself you can enter the big bath to relax. All onsens are different, some having only one bath inside whilst others have many different ones - most have saunas too. All onsens in the Niseko area also have beautifully peaceful outdoor pools surrounded by trees: the perfect place to relax.

When entering the baths it is important that you don't disturb the water too much - no diving or swimming allowed! Just sit back and enjoy the view, whilst your body relaxes in the naturally heated volcanic water.

The perfect place to recover after a day skiing!
In the summer you can relax to the sound of birdsong!