Hot Spring Cure

I went on an overnight trip to “Yamaga onsen” with my family last week.   An onsen is a mineral hot spring spa.   Yamaga onsen is located within an hour’s drive,  but we stayed one night for a change.   The hotel we stayed in was “Yamaga New Grand Hotel”.

yamaga newgrand hotel

The room was a Japanese-style room.    In those kinds of rooms, the guests sleep on a futon instead of a bed.   The housekeepers move the table aside and lay out futons on the tatami covering the floor while guests have dinner.


This is the onsen bathtub in the hotel.  (both pictures from hotel website)


“How to Enjoy a Japanese Bath” is taken from “Japan Ryokan Association Kinki“.    I saw the poster displayed in another onsen.   Before seeing the poster, I had no doubt I should wash my body first and then soak in the tub, because everyone around me do so.   However, the poster said just rinsing is OK before sitting in a hot spring.   Isn’t it unsanitary?    But I’ve never heard of infection in hot spring.   Umm I think I can say the same for a swimming pool?    An onsen may be better than a pool because the abundant hot water is bubbling up all the time.

how to enjoy onsen

The hot water will warm you down to your core.   It might make you very sleepy.   After sleeping, you can refresh yourself.  An Onsen is also good for beauty.   While resting in a bath, your skin will feel smooth.    By the way, I ‘ve been going to an onsen with my daughter since she was a baby.    We are used to seeing each other’s naked bodies.  I think it would be an embarrassing thing for non-Japanese people.   I also would be embarrassed with friends.   It is a little embarrassing for me to take a bath at a fitness club.

Room prices at hotels and inns around onsen usually include breakfast and dinner.   The dinner is made with typical Japanese dishes.   You can’t choose.  But nobody complains about it because it’s delicious.


The Kikuchi River flows by the hotel.    It was fine in the winter morning, but bitterly cold.

kikuchi river

We took another onsen bath at Sakurayu.   Edo-period onsen facility was rebuilt last year.   Sakurayu was the onsen for the lord of this area during Edo era.


We went for a little walk.  This is the theater “Yachiyo-za”.  It is in use nowadays.

yachiyoza theater

Here is the temple “Kongou-Jouji” and a unique stone-gate.


There is a public foot bath in the park.


On the way back home,  I became very sleepy.    Maybe the onsen worked on me.   I almost dozed off at the wheel.   I fell asleep as soon as I got home.   The onsen has soothed away my fatigue.   On the other hand, my children seemed to be discontent.   My son complained, “It was a very boring trip!!!”

18 thoughts on “Hot Spring Cure

  1. That sounds like such a relaxing time!
    When I visit I hope to visit an onsen. I would be shy to be naked here at home but being naked with strangers in another country doesn’t seem to bother me. I probably will never see them again. I am worried about which onsen I could visit because I have tattoos. I hear they are not allowed in onsen.

    • Unfortunately, most onsen facilities refuse people with tattoos. So I suggest you should take an onsen bath trying not to draw attention to tattoo. But just because you are a foreigner, people might look at you with curiosity. LoL In case, there is a private bath called Kazoku-yu, which is used among a couple or a family.

      • I would have to use a private bath or find a remote onsen out in the wilderness. I have MANY tattoos that are big. :<
        Also I posted my reply to the Liebster Award. Thanks again for the nomination.

        • WOW! Many big tattoos?(@o@) What design of tattoos do you have? Good Luck at onsen!
          Thank you for your quick posting. And some of your nominees have already answered. How fast! It’s fun to read those answers 🙂

  2. I always wash my body entirely before going into the onsen. When I get out of the onsen, I rinse off one last time. I thought that was how everyone did it~~ O_O

    Have you ever tried the electric baths? Phew! Very strange feeling~

    • Hi, Are you,angrygaijin looked at with curiosity in onsen? LOL I’m afraid of the electric baths. Even bubble baths make me feel restless. I like just sitting and stretching in the bathtub 🙂

    • Thank you for your comment. And congratulations on your book launch! I traveled to Singapore with my mother about 20 years ago. It became a really good memory. Nice country 🙂

  3. I didn’t know about the rinse-soak-wash-soak method. I just thought it was wash then soak.
    I had the opportunity to go to a Sentō once, but my hosts wanted to go early in the morning… I wanted sleep more than being naked in front of others!
    Hopefully when I get to go back to Japan I can try an onsen.

  4. Yes, I lived there for a little over a year. Oki is truly beautiful and I miss it. I hope you do visit and when you do, let me know. I will tell you some favorite spots of mine so you can see them while you are there.

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