Our Pick Of The Top 10 Hot Springs (Onsens) In Japan - Updated 2021

hot springs japan

Japan is famous for many things but onsens have to be fairly high on that list. Not heard of an onsen (温泉)? Well, it is a natural hot spring bath, caused by volcanic activity heating the water. Onsen healing has been passed down from generation to generation and there are now over 3,000 registered hot springs in Japan, so we’ve selected our top 10 unique resorts which are all ready and waiting to welcome you.

1. Tamagawa Onsen

A post shared by M. Koshita (@coshipii) on Oct 26, 2016 at 4:33am PDT

A post shared by matoon (@matoon) on Oct 9, 2017 at 6:08am PDT

This onsen is very remote and it feels like a miraculous secret. It is also home to Japan’s most acidic hot spring waters which are caused by a volcanically active valley and a rare radioactive stone called hokutolite. By using the stone with the hot springs and spa treatments, there are a wide range of health benefits, some even claim that it can help treat cancer.

Tamagawa Onsen

Address: 014-1205 Akita Prefecture, Senboku, Tazawako Tamagawa

Website: Tamagawa Onsen

2. Kusatsu Onsen

Kusatsu Onsen limewater injection 1
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Qurren used under CC BY-SA 3.0

This onsen has the largest flowing water volume of all of the hot springs in Japan. That is a lot of purifying power! Not only does that qualify this onsen for our list but it also has two bathing styles: jikan-yu and yumomi, both of which are unique to Kusatsu Onsen and have been handed down from generation to generation since the Edo Period.

Kusatsu Onsen

Address: Kusatsu, 草津町 Agatsuma District, Gunma Prefecture 377-1711, Japan

Website: Kusatsu Onsen

3. Beppu Onsen

Source: Photo by Flickr user Travis used under CC BY 2.0

Here we have it… the largest hot spring in the world! This amazing onsen focuses on not just hot springs but you can also enjoy a sand bath, steam bath, and even relaxing mud baths. There is so much on offer here that it is even classified as an onsen resort. Just writing about it is making me feel relaxed.

Beppu Onsen

Address: Japan, 〒874-0000 Oita Prefecture, Beppu, Motomachi,

Website: Beppu Onsen

4. Kinosaki Onsen

This is a very traditional onsen, where everyone still wears yukatas, a traditional Japanese attire. Visiting this onsen is like taking a peak at the past. The best time of the year to visit is during the Kinosaki “Shrine Fighting” Festival, which uses danjiri, wooden carts designed to appear like ornate shrines.

Kinosaki Onsen

Address: Toyooka, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan

Website: Kinosaki Onsen

5. Yamanoyado Onsen

Source: Photo by Flickr user katsuuu 44 used under CC BY-ND 2.0

There are many unique onsens in Kurokawa but by far our favourite has to be Yamanoyado Onsen, where the public sulphur spring baths are hidden inside interesting and dark steamy caves and are particularly well known for healing nerve pain. This is the perfect place for onsen-hopping!

Yamanoyado Onsen

Address: 1 Yunotai, Tazawakotazawa, Semboku 014-1204, Akita Prefecture

Website: Yamanoyado Onsen

6. Ibusuki Onsen

A post shared by @molly.035 on Jan 22, 2016 at 11:16pm PST

This onsen offers an all-season sand bath known as “sunamushi.” Listed as the only natural sand bath in the world, it is also infused with the healing power from the hot springs. The sand bath is a popular beauty treatment and many people come from across Japan and the world.

Ibusuki Onsen

Address: Ibusuki, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan


7. Kita Onsen

Kita onsen
Source: Photo by Flickr user keiichiro shikano used under CC BY 2.0

Located in Tochigi Prefecture, this onsen is not very well known but is incredibly special. You can only get to it on foot and cars must be parked 10 minutes away. Be careful as you walk, as the terrain might be slippery and although we like the fact that the onsen is hidden in the mountains, we don’t want you to get lost. The onsen itself is surrounded by wooden buildings dating back through the Edo Period, Meiji, and Show Periods. One of our fellow Trip101 writers visited the site and wrote an in depth article about it which you can read by following the link below.

Kita Onsen

Address: Yumoto 151, Nakagawa-machi, Nasu-gun 325-0301, Tochigi Prefecture

Trip101 Article Read Indepth Article about Kita Onsen

8. Kawane Onsen

A post shared by Hiroki Mochizuki (@hiroki.45) on Sep 10, 2017 at 9:06pm PDT

Ok, so the last one on our list may not be a unique onsen as such, but it is only one of the few onsens in Japan that you can take a locomotive train to reach. Located near the Oigawa Railway, you’ll relax to the historical sounds of trains passing by whilst enjoy a traditional hot spring. Or, you can go for something different and test out the charcoal baths or the hinoki cypress baths if that takes you fancy.

Kawane Onsen

Address: 220 Kawanecho Sasamado, Shimada 428-0101, Shizuoka Prefecture

Website: Kawane Onsen (in Japanese)

9. Yurari Onsen

A post shared by Anna Nguyen (@anpttjmj) on May 11, 2017 at 7:26am PDT

This popular onsen gives panoramic views across Mt. Fuji in the Kawaguchiko area. Alongside the glorious views you can also enjoy a meal and some select spa treatments. At nighttime this onsen is purely magical!

Yurari Onsen

Address: 401-0320 Yamanashi Prefecture, Minamitsuru District, Narusawa,

Website: Yurari Onsen

10. Hirayu Minzokukan

There are a number of incredible onsen towns in Okuhido but our favourite has to be Hirayu Minzokukan because it is unique in that it is home to a museum of straw roofed farm houses that display rural life. Oh my gosh, the views from all of the Hirayu hot springs really are amazing; you just need to relax and take in the breathtaking scenery over the Northern Japan Alps. What more could you want from an onsen?!

Hirayu Minzokukan

Address: Okuhidaonsengohirayu, Takayama 506-1433, Gifu Prefecture

Website: Hirayu Minzokukan

Welcome the new you with a yukata

Onsen in Nachikatsuura, Japan
Source: Photo by user Chris 73 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Not only are onsens some of the most relaxing places, they also have many health benefits, so it is worthwhile spending your time to test out all the onsens on this list until you find the one that feels like your perfect medicine. Ahh how tiresome, life sure is difficult, isn’t it? Now, where did I put that yukata?

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our privacy policy for more information on how we use your data

Still Need Travel Insurance?

You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.

*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101

*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.

A full-time global wanderer and volunteer. Strong compass leading to random and remote pockets of Earth; exploring jungles, abandoned villages and the open seas. Passionate about documenting on my...Read more

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Japan
Good things are meant to be shared!