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Do’s & Don’ts: 9 Weird Things Tourists Often Forget at Onsen in Hokkaido

Japan is well-known as an onsen (hot spring) country. There are many onsen in Hokkaido, and you can find them speckled all around Japan’s northern island! These include famous ones to hidden ones that are known just by a few people. Among them, there are also many unique onsen in Hokkaido that are just as nature made them, complete with amazing views.

They add that little bit more adventure to a trip to this country, and can often be the highlight! However, as these onsens are natural ones, and can be actually in the middle of the wilderness if you don’t know how to use them correctly, then it can cause issues!

In addition to basic manners that must be observed when going into any onsen in Japan, there are other things to keep in mind when using an onsen in Hokkaido, so let’s go over these to make sure you are ninja ready for your trip!

Main image: PIXTA

Basic Manners when Using an Onsen in Hokkaido

First of all, let’s remind ourselves of some of the basic manners for using an onsen in Japan – these are pointers which are good to remember. Not only will they help you enjoy using onsens, they will also make sure that you fit in with what other people are doing.

1. Don’t wear a swimsuit

In Japan, people enter the onsen area naked from the changing rooms and don’t wear a swimsuit when bathing. As such, almost every onsen in Hokkaido will have warning signs pointing out that swimsuits are prohibited.

For this reason, the vast majority of them have separate areas for men and women. There are a few mixed onsens, but they have warning signs that they are mixed. However, you don’t need to worry too much about blundering into a mixed onsen, as there really very few!

2. Don’t go into the water wearing a towel

While you can’t wear a swimsuit in an onsen from the changing room, you can take a towel with you. But don’t go into the water while wearing a towel around your waist! It is also common to take only a small hand towel with you, not a bath towel. It is prohibited to bathe with a towel on because it will make the water dirty.

Occasionally, you might see people wearing towels in an onsen on Japanese TV shows or in publicity photos, but this is just for the sake of modesty. You might wonder where you should put your hand towel when you enter the water; however, there is an easy answer. Go completely Japanese style and put it on your head!

Japanese people believe that having a towel on your head while bathing prevents your head, the only part of you not in the water, from getting cold. It also helps prevent blood from rushing to your head when …

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