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Onsen (Hot Spring)

Onsen in Niseko

 

Niseko, like the rest of Japan, has an abundance of natural hot springs. The Japanese-style hot spring is called an onsen, and there are over 25 different onsen scattered across the Niseko region alone.  In fact, before Niseko was a famous ski resort is was primarily used as onsen holiday destination for domestic visitors. To qualify as onsen, waters must be naturally heated and sufficiently mineral rich. A dip into these waters is therapeutic and incredibly relaxing, especially after a day on the ski slopes. Visiting in the summer? Time your onsen visit to coincide with sunset over Yotei - it’s magic.

 

niseko grand hotel onsen

Niseko Grand Hotel Onsen

 

One unique onsen to highlight in the Niseko area is the Niseko Grand Hotel Onsen. This onsen is praised for its mineral-rich waters, but also for its mixed bathing. The Grand Hotel features a very large public rotenburo (outside bath) that allows both men and women. Most onsen in Japan are now separated by gender, although some like the Niseko Grand Hotel still exist.  Several hot springs in the area also have private baths that you can rent at a premium. Perfect for small groups or families.

 

Which onsen should you visit?

Not sure which onsens to visit? Vacation Niseko has come up with a detailed list of our favorites:

 

Niseko Onsen - Our Top Picks!

Onsen Etiquette

This is crucial information to read before entering a Japanese hot spring. If you have done any research on onsen you probably know that you are not allowed to wear any swimsuits. You must bathe in the nude. But that is not it! There are many unspoken rules and expectations at a Japanese onsen that should be followed.

Follow the below guidelines to make sure your onsen experience is an awesome one!

  • Don’t bring your swimwear

All onsen are nude - this means no swimwear allowed! No worries though, onsen are separated by gender, with completely separate bathing areas for men and women. Only a few onsen, usually very basic and rural, offer mixed pools. Some onsen also have private family pools that can be rented exclusively for your group.

  • Bring two towels

While most onsen rent towels out at the front desk, you’re welcome to bring your own. In addition to your normal towel, bring a smaller facecloth-like towel. This is your ‘modesty’ towel for walking between pools. When you're in the water, don’t submerge your towel - let it rest on your forehead or put it to the side.

  • Wash up!

All onsen require the guest to clean themselves thoroughly at the wash basins before entering the water. This is an important cultural feature of onsen - the bathhouse aspect of an onsen is just as important as the hot spring itself.

  • Hide your tattoo

Onsen traditionally refuse guests with tattoos due to their association with the Yakuza. However, due to the international nature of Niseko, this rule may not always be enforced in the region.

 

Onsen Etiquette

The Yumeguri Onsen Pass

Niseko Yumeguri Onsen Pass

The Yumeguri Onsen Pass can be purchased for 1,440/1,930/2,160 yen. This provides 3 tickets that can be used at 15 different onsens in the Niseko Area. The pass is valid for 180 days so you can use the pass at 3 different onsens or you can visit a single onsen multiple times. This is the best value for those looking to explore Niseko's many different onsen! The pass is available at most michi no eki road stations, but the three most convenient locations in the Niseko area are the Ski Japan Hirafu Office, the Niseko View Plaza,  and the Kutchan Information Center.

 

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