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Definition of Onsen

Definition: Onsen

Know what an onsen is? This Japanese word refers to the resorts and bathing facilities attached to the country's multitude of hot springs. Therapeutic hot spring baths are a long-standing Japanese tradition, and they're famous abroad partly because they've historically been nude and communal. Now, of course, many onsens allow patrons to wear bathing suits, although bathers are still expected to wash themselves thoroughly before entering the water. Mountain-dwelling snow monkeys are also known to enjoy a good dip, so if you do make it to a Japanese hot spring, don't be surprised if you make a furry new friend.

Photo by Flickr user mavesen

Join The Conversation
michelleyk michelleyk 7 years
It's true. At first you're like...oh god, I'm naked, they're naked...AVERT YOUR EYES! Then you forget. Mostly because you're sitting in very hot water, and the conversation turns to "wow! the water is really, really hot" or "Soooo...relaxing". The weirdest thing is getting stared AT. I went to one in Hakone (by Mount Fuji) and was very disgruntled to see that the men's onsen (which was across the lawn) was much larger and had better views then the women's.
Beauty Beauty 7 years
I've been to an onsen, and after a minute, you kinda forget that everybody is naked. It's refreshing to be reminded that we come in all different shapes and sizes, too.
smolliecakes smolliecakes 7 years
I've always wanted to try an onsen, but I was worried I'd be too nervous to be nude in public like that. It sounds relaxing though
hippiecowgirl hippiecowgirl 7 years
This sounds heavenly. Well, maybe minus the monkeys.
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