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Relaxation at hot springs

As the temperature drops and the chilly winter looms, many Japanese start dreaming of relaxing in a soothing hot spring (onsen), and hotels/ryokan with hot spring facilities as well as hot spring villages become top destinations for a warm winter break. Some of the most popular hot springs in the country include the Hakone and Kusatsu onsens in the Kanto area and the Yufuin Onsen in Kyushu. You may not expect to see them, but hot springs can also be spotted in Okinawa — the southernmost prefecture in Japan. At some places in Okinawa, you can even enjoy an exceptional hot spring bath while taking in a gorgeous view of the ocean.

In Japan, bathing to warm the body is a typical method of relaxation available at home. Going to a hot spring is an expanded version of such a bathing culture. Hot springs are believed to help to relieve various physical conditions including neuralgia, muscle ache, arthralgia, stiff shoulder, sensitivity to cold and more. Some hot spring facilities are equipped with a Jacuzzi, a bubble bath, a waterfall bath or a sauna as well as a massage room to make your time there even more enjoyable.

In the main island of Okinawa, there are resort hotels with hot spring facilities, such as the Loisir Hotel & Spa Tower Naha in Naha City, the Ryukyu Onsen Senagajima Hotel in Tomigusuku City and The Yuinchi Hotel Nanjo in Nanjo City, which all admit non-hotel guests. The Renaissance Okinawa Resort in Onna Village also has a hot spring, the Yamada Onsen, which is reserved for the exclusive use of guests staying on its premium floor. A large selection of restaurants is available at these hotels, allowing you to add to your relaxed and pampered day with a delicious meal after bathing.

If you want to enjoy an open-air bath with a view of a classic Japanese garden, Enagic Natural Hot Spring Aroma comes highly recommended. The facility is equipped with various types of baths, a massage room, an aesthetic salon and a restaurant to make your visit even more enjoyable. If you want to bathe in a resort ambience, Terme Villa Chula-U adjacent to The Beach Tower Okinawa is the place to go. It is a bathing and spa facility popular among people of all ages and nationalities for its hot spring and open-air and indoor pools. After spending some luxurious moments in the outdoor pool with the sun setting right before your eyes, you can enjoy a relaxing hot spring located on the same premises.

Also, some bathing facilities such as Kanna Thalasso Okinawa and Bade Haus Kume Island use deep-sea water instead of hot spring water. There is another type of Japanese public bath known as a sento, where you can unwind in a large soaking tub for an entrance fee of 1,000 yen or so. Unlike hot springs, a sento does not use water from geothermally heated springs, but is filled instead with heated tap water. There are a number of sento in and around Naha City, and many of them are complemented by a sauna and Jacuzzi, and some also provide massage services.

One of the most important rituals is to wash and rinse yourself before entering the water. Everyone undresses completely in Japanese hot springs, although you may see some people covering their private parts with a small towel.

Hot spring bathing is a uniquely Japanese relaxation experience you can’t miss!


FAQ: What does the admission to a hot spring facility include?
Varies by facility. A set of rental towels (1 large, 1 small), shampoo, conditioner, body wash, cotton swabs, a razor and a toothbrush are commonly included in the price. In addition, some places provide free use of clothes to relax in or free skin care products.


Equipped with a shallow pool 80 centimeters deep and a multipurpose pool with underwater speakers playing the cries of dolphins and whales (closed in winter), the multipurpose pool invites you to enjoy a splendid view of the East China Sea in an ambience made extraordinary by its unique lighting. (Terme Villa Chula-U)


Enjoy a tranquil and relaxing moment at this open-air bath nestled in a lush Japanese garden. The sound of flowing hot spring water adds to the atmosphere. (Enagic Natural Hot Spring Aroma)


Visitors are spoiled for choice with a hinoki (Japanese cypress) bath, whirlpool bath, neburo, a shallow bath that allows you to lie on your back and relax, saunas and more. Shio sauna, meaning salt sauna, is highly recommended for a more refreshing effect. Salt for shio sauna is available in the saunas. You can apply the salt on your body and as you perspire, the salt will be washed away, leaving your skin feeling smooth. Shio sauna is said to promote perspiration and helps in skin cleansing and detox. (Enagic Natural Hot Spring Aroma)


Massage, body scrub, foot reflexology and a variety of beauty treatments are available for ultimate pampering and relaxation. (Enagic Natural Hot Spring Aroma)


The panoramic view of the ocean from the large bath is simply outstanding. The hot springs water at Sashikino Enjin-no-yu contains ancient water from geological formations dating back tens of millions of years, approximately the time when the ape-like ancestors of humans appeared in Africa. The cute mascot of Sashikino Enjin-no-yu is reminiscent of an ape man. The facility also offers an ocean view relaxation room and an amusement corner with a variety of game machines to enjoy.
(Sashikino Enjin-no-yu, The Yuinchi Hotel Nanjo)


According to a local legend of the Shigira district of Miyako Island, there used be a little lake said to be the place where a female sea god first met her lover. Later, after digging was carried out in the forested area mentioned in the legend, steaming hot spring water sprayed out from a depth of about 1,250 meters. Shigira Ougon Onsen is a hot spring facility located adjacent to Shigira Bayside Suite Allamanda, a luxurious spa resort that opened in 2010. Private rooms with an open-air bath for your exclusive use are also available. (Shigira Ougon Onsen)

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Hot spring resorts & facilities

Main island of Okinawa

A large parking area is available. The facility is located in Ginowan’s popular shopping district featuring with large shopping malls, a Don Quijote and also a farmers’ market. (Enagic Natural Hot Spring Aroma)

Enagic Natural Hot Spring Aroma
7-7-1 Oyama, Ginowan City
Tel: 0120-06-1126
Hours: 6:00-24:00 (Last entry 23:00)
Open daily
Admission: 1,500 yen for adults, 1,000 yen for high school, college and university students, 750 yen for elementary and junior high school students, free for under 6.
*Prices include free use of clothes in the relaxation room or at the facility’s restaurant after bathing.


The Beach Tower
Terme Villa Chula-U
2 Mihama, Chatan Town
Tel: 098-926-2611
Hours: 7:00-23:00 (Last entry 22:00)
Open daily
Outside visitors: Allowed
Admission: 1,000 yen (or 1,300 yen on weekends and holidays) for adults, 700 yen for ages 4-11, 300 yen for ages 1-3; early morning entry (7:00-9:00): 500 yen for adults, 300 yen for ages 1-3.
Rentals: Bath towel (100 yen), face towel (50 yen)


The Yuinchi Hotel Nanjo
Sashikino Enjin-no-yu
1688 Shinzato, Sashiki, Nanjo City
Tel: 098-947-0111
Hours: 7:00-23:00; Sat and Sun 6:30-23:00 (Last entry 22:30)
Open daily
Outside visitors: Allowed
Admission: 1,650 yen for adults, 750 yen for elementary school students, free for under 6.


If you pay the entrance fee for the hot springs facility, you can get access to the indoor swimming pool and the open-air wave pool, too.

Loisir Hotel & Spa Tower Naha
Miegusuku Onsen/Chura Spa
3-2-1 Nishi, Naha City
Tel: 098-868-2222
Hours: 6:30-24:00 (Last entry 23:00)
Open daily
Outside visitors: Allowed
Admission: Miegusuku Onsen (Loisir Hotel Naha): 3,150 yen for adults, 1,500 yen for ages 5-12; Chura Spa (Loisir Spa Tower): 4,150 yen for adults, 1,500 yen for ages 5-12.


Ryukyu Onsen Senagajima Hotel
174-5 Senaga, Tomigusuku City
Tel: 098-851-7167
Hours: 11:00-24:00 (Last entry 23:00)
Open daily
Outside visitors: Allowed
Admission: 1,300 yen (1,500 yen on weekends and holidays) for adults, 700 yen for elementary school students, free for under 6; early morning entry (6:00-10:00): 800 yen for adults, 700 yen for elementary school students.

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Miyako Island

Shigira Bayside Suite Allamanda (Nansei Rakuen)
Shigira Ougon Onsen
1405-223 Shinzato, Ueno, Miyakojima City (Miyako Island)
Tel: 0980-74-7340
Hours: April-September: 12:00-22:00; October-March 14:00-22:00 (Last entry 21:30)
Open daily
Outside visitors: Allowed
Admission: 2,000 yen for adults, 1,000 yen for ages 4-11, free for under 3.

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Tattoo etiquette
Many Japanese public bathing houses refuse entry to people with tattoos. While tattoos are considered a part of fashion in the United States, the Japanese version of tattooing, called irezumi, of the whole body connotes yakuza (gangsters) in Japan. Barred entry to people with tattoos is a way to prevent yakuza from using public baths; however, the entrance policy varies by facility nowadays. Some bathhouses will accept fashion tattoos.






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