The Japanese thermal spring bath
An onsen is a hot thermal spring in which it is possible to take a bath, and is an important part of Japanese culture, being the subject of many tourist destinations. It is a real place of relaxation and relaxation much appreciated by Japanese people. Indeed, Japan has several thousands of these springs whose water is naturally heated by geothermal energy due to the country’s important volcanic activity. The onsen is also known for its healing properties due to the mineral content of the water which can vary according to the sources and basins.
Whether in the mountains or by the sea, an onsen is usually found in rural areas and in the open air, although nowadays it can sometimes also be found in cities and in the interior. These thermal baths are usually either run by private establishments, such as ryokan (traditional Japanese inns), or are public, municipal, or left in a natural state.
As in most Japanese baths, nudity is de rigueur in an onsen; however, although historically the pools were mixed, this is generally no longer the case since the end of the 19th century, men and women being separated, except still in some pools. As for children, they are accepted in both parts, regardless of their sex. It should also be known that access to an onsen is generally refused to tattooed persons.
However, an onsen is not to be confused with a sento which is a public bath with water coming from the tap and heated by a boiler.