Where are you going?
Or, let us surprise youSpin the Globe ®

11 Must-Visit Onsen in Japan

In Japan, onsen used to be the way the entire country bathed; now, they’re the way the entire country unwinds. Many Japanese go to these traditional hot baths multiple times per week—visits to the purifying natural hot springs are often a family affair. Onsen in Japan are ubiquitous, whether centrally located or tucked away among the mountains, and range from simple to luxurious.
Save Place
Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, Japan
One of Japan’s oldest onsen is located in the outskirts of Matsuyama in a labyrinthine Meiji-era complex with several baths, tatami mat relaxing rooms, and even an onsen for the imperial family, which you can tour but not soak in. The...
Save Place
Japan, 〒669-6103 Hyōgo-ken, Toyooka-shi, Kinosakichō Imazu, 城崎町今津283
Kinosaki Onsen is a hot springs resort town known for its seven public baths, including quiet and traditional Mandara-yu and the more modern Ichino-yu. Meander through Kinosaki’s willow-lined, pedestrian-friendly streets, where you’ll find...
Save Place
1270-48 Yufuinchō Kawakami, Yufu-shi, Ōita-ken 879-5102, Japan
On Japan’s smaller island of Kyushu, the towns of Yufuin and Beppu are known for their hot springs, or onsen. The Sansou Murata blends traditional and modern elements for those seeking a unique onsen experience, with old Japanese houses...
Save Place
Arima-onsen, Arimacho, Kita, Kobe, Hyōgo Prefecture 651-1401, Japan

Back when the Japanese and Europeans were still getting to know each other, one big difference between the two was that Europeans were certain that baths were very bad for you. One a month was one too many. Meanwhile, the Japanese had perfected...

Save Place
Kyushu, Japan
Lamune Onsen, aka "the soda pop spa," is unique both for its naturally sparkling hot springs and for its striking architecture. Designed by architect Teranobu Fujimori, the white and charred-cedar stripes on the building’s exterior create a...
Save Place
162 Noboribetsuonsenchō, Noboribetsu-shi, Hokkaidō 059-0551, Japan

Part of Shikotsu-Toya National Park, Noboribetsu Onsen is a resort town with baths fed by around 3,000 liters (793 gallons) of water from the hot spring known as Jigokudani, or Hell Valley. It earns its nickname from the impressive plumes of...

Save Place
2148 Nagakura, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano-ken 389-0111, Japan
Just 90 minutes from the Jikoundani, where Japanese snow monkeys soak in their very own onsen, this ryokan’s onsen is exclusive to overnight guests and divided into three minimalist chambers, each with decreasing amounts of light. The last...
Save Place
Japan, 〒669-6101 Hyōgo-ken, Toyooka-shi, Kinosakichō Yushima, 城崎町湯島469−西村屋本館
Kinosaki, a picturesque 8th-century onsen town fed by the thermal and willow-lined Otani-gawa River, is beloved by weekenders donning yukata and geta and who onsen-hop around the town’s seven historic hot spring baths. Nishumuruya Honkan,...
Save Place
Japan, 〒603-8225 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Kita-ku, Murasakino Minamifunaokachō, 北区紫野南舟岡町82−1
Open since 1923, this is one of Kyoto's oldest bathhouses. The late hours (3 p.m.–1 a.m.) make it a great stop after a long day of walking (Fushimi Inari Shrine, anyone?). At 430 (around $3.75) per visit, this onsen won't break the bank any time...