7 Most Popular Hot Spring Resorts In Japan

Want a relaxing getaway in Japan? Here are the most popular hot spring resorts in Japan. 

Hot springs (onsen) are an asset for Japan’s visitors, among other options. Japan has around 27,000 springs and is positioned on the Pacific Fire Rim. If you haven’t visited hot springs resorts in Japan, you’re missing out.

Who wouldn’t enjoy relaxing in hot calming mineral springs, stunning surroundings, and water that has medicinal properties? 

But, what exactly are hot springs aka onsens?

A hot spring, sometimes known as a thermal spring, is a spring whose water temperature is much higher than the temperature of the surrounding air. Natural hot springs are driven by volcanic activity as well as the resort ambiance that has developed around many of these springs.

I love visiting hot springs in Japan often. And below I have listed some of the most popular and also my favorite hot springs resorts in Japan. 

Here are some of the best Japanese Hot Springs Resorts in Japan to explore and enjoy.

Most Popular Hot Spring Resorts In Japan

Kusatsu Onsen

Kusatsu, commonly known as Thespa Kusatsu, is Japan’s most famous onsen, famous for its gorgeous setting and great curative effect.

It has been known as a prominent hot spring for health care since ancient times. 

Kusatsu Onsen has the greatest natural spring volume in Japan. It is supplied with vast amounts of hot water, which is supposed to cure every illness. 

The best part is that there are no entrance fees to enjoy the hot springs.

My favorite activity was stirring the spring water in the hot spring bath with a huge wooden board to evenly mix the therapeutic elements in the hot spring and lower the temperature.

It was enjoyable and therapeutic.

Hakone Onsen

Hakone is a fantastic spot to visit. And the location is breathtakingly lovely.

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If you want to experience hot springs, Hakone Onsen is probably the best place to go in Tokyo.

It is a must-see for anyone visiting the vibrant city. However, if you want to stay overnight, they have ryokan guesthouses (as do many hot spring resort towns).

And the joy of the joys is that you can see Mount Fuji from here, making it one of the top onsens in Japan to visit. I had a wonderful day and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Kinosaki Onsen

With its seven excellent public hot springs, Kinosaki Onsen is also considered to be one of the best resort towns for onsen spas in Japan with its well-maintained public hot springs.

Its three-story traditional wooden cottages, distinctive facilities, and décor make each stay unique. Kinosaki has it all: traditional, modern, and Romanesque!

It has a really old vibe to it, but it’s worth a visit even if you don’t intend to take onsen.

Kinosaki is named the “best hot spring town” by Lonely Planet as a result of its willow-lined river, old-fashioned ryokan, and nostalgic arcades. 

It was a fantastic opportunity for me to visit a neighboring sanctuary that aids in the conservation of endangered oriental storks.

Shibu Onsen

Shibu onsen resort is an ancient and beautiful hot spring village with a vintage ambiance. Shibu Onsen is situated in a small valley, stretching out on a gradual slope beside the Yokoyugawa River. Shibu Onsen is a hot spring resort with a history dating back over 1,300 years.

Shibu Onsen in Yamanouchi is one of the most unique onsen towns in Japan since it attracts not only humans but also our ape companions! 

It was pleasant to see monkeys in Shibu’s monkey park enjoying and relaxing just like we did. Many people come here merely to see the snow monkeys bathing in hot water.

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Shibu Onsen is famed for its monkey park as well as its numerous bathhouses that treat specific ailments. In addition to visiting each of the town’s nine bathhouses, visitors can also collect stamps on bath towels. 

It is believed that those who do this will be rewarded with good fortune! This strengthens my conviction, and the people here support it wholeheartedly.

Beppu Onsen

Beppu Onsen is a well-known onsen town on Kyushu Island. There are several areas in the region where you can enjoy an onsen. 

This resort in the Oita prefecture promises billions of options as well as high-quality hot springs.

Choosing the best one among many will be a challenging task. If that’s the case, Beppu is unquestionably the place to be!

It has the maximum number of hot springs in Japan, many of which provide treatments other than traditional hot water baths. It offers steam baths, sand baths, and mud baths, which all have healing properties.

You can explore a variety of onsen treatments at this resort to diversify your therapeutic experience, which is very effective for treating chronic skin diseases.

This famous hot spring resort is a must-see once in a lifetime if you want to soak in the finest baths.

Fuji Kawaguchiko Onsen

As the name implies, Kawaguchiko Onsen is located on Lake Kawaguchiko, which offers spectacular views of Mount Fuji.

Some bathhouses and ryokan offer both indoor and outdoor bathing, but the best views of Mount Fuji can be enjoyed by the lake itself.

A visit to this area is best experienced in spring during cherry blossom season and in autumn during Koyo, or leaf viewing season. This is when the area is at its most picturesque.

Being able to experience Mount Fuji and take a bath simultaneously is like having the best of both worlds. I had a pleasant experience. There’s nothing more one could ask for.

Dogo Onsen

Dogo Onsen is one of Japan’s three oldest Hot Springs, dating back 3000 years and is located in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture.

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The hot spring resort is an old building with finely carved wooden rooms, halls, and staircases. 

It has a big, castle-like bathhouse as well as multiple ryokans. The Honkan bathhouse influenced aspects of the Studio Ghibli film Spirited Away. The restrooms are private and include complimentary toiletries.

This is by far my favorite indoor onsen in Japan and one of the best Japanese onsens for antiquity and comfort.

The interiors are beautifully representative of an actual Japanese inn, and the exteriors, with their curving roofs and wooden pillars, perfectly embody olden Japan.

Conclusion

The best thing that could happen to me in Japan is to explore various hot spring resorts. Visiting Japan would not be complete without soaking in an onsen bath. Japan’s hot spring resorts have exquisite locations, ancient healing techniques, vintage facilities, and therapeutic experiences that cannot be ignored.

After discovering so much about hot spring resorts, I hope you will not miss a visit there. Everyone will desire to soak in a luxurious bath at least once.

Many of these locations are accessible by day trip from some of the more popular ones. Don’t pass up the opportunity to take advantage of the benefits of these hot spring resorts; I’m convinced it will be a worthwhile experience for you. Hot spring resorts are the best places to relax and unwind while also healing.

FAQs: Most Popular Hot Spring Resorts in Japan

What is Japan’s most popular hot spring?

Arima Onsen, located at the base of a beautiful autumn foliage valley among the hills and mountains of Hyogo Prefecture, is one of the oldest and most famous hot springs in Japan. 

How popular are hot springs in Japan?

Japan is a hot springs destination due to its abundance of active volcanoes. There are dozens of spa precincts throughout the country, with charming ryokan (traditional Japanese inns) as well.

Why do Japanese people visit hot springs?

Japan is well renowned for its numerous hot springs. Since ancient times, Japanese people have been drawn to hot springs. This is because onsen heals both the body and the soul.

Is a hot spring helpful for your health?

Onsen water contains various natural components, including sodium bicarbonate and calcium, which are taken into our bodies when we bathe. Minerals improve blood flow and oxygen levels in our bodies.

What is the ideal length of stay in an onsen?

In most cases, the recommended soak time is 15 to 20 minutes. Prolonged immersion in hot water can cause excessively high blood pressure or heart rate, resulting in dizziness and discomfort.

Is it necessary to wear a swimsuit to an onsen?

An onsen is a place without swimsuits, so bringing one is unnecessary. A yukata robe will be provided outside the bath. Even a towel is not permitted in the bath.

What are the advantages of hot springs?

Hot Springs have several healing properties: 

  • Boron helps to strengthen bones and improves cognitive function.
  • Calcium improves bone health and overall wellness.
  • Sulfate soothes pain and is necessary for healthy skin, hair, and nails.

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