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Can You Wear A Swimsuit In An Onsen – Dive in or Cover-up?

Can you wear a swimsuit in an onsen? If this is what you’re thinking for your next trip to Japan, you’ve come to the right place. 

The main rule of using an onsen is that you can only wear your birthday suit. Whoa what? Trust me, you’re not the only one with your jaw dropped to the floor O_O 

This might be shocking to some of you, especially if you come from a different culture.

As an avid traveler, I understand the importance of respecting the culture and rules of the country that you’re traveling to. 

You don’t want to mess up them and end up in prison! 

However, let’s not fixate on the idea that you need to be naked to enjoy onsen.  I have some good news waiting for you! Keep on reading this topic of can you wear a swimsuit in an onsen to find out. 

If you are new here, Hi, I am Aisha Preece ! I am an avid solo female traveller and I love helping other females travel safer and better 🙂

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can you wear a swimsuit in an onsen

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Can You Wear A Swimsuit In An Onsen?

Can you wear a swimsuit in an onsen? There are no swimsuit rules in the onsen, as you must get in naked.

This is to preserve the cleanliness and hygiene of the water as you’d be sharing the same bath with other guests.

So, questions like what to wear in Japanese onsen or what to wear in an onsen are off the table. 

Having any clothes on could contaminate the water due to the bacteria in them.

A small and a big towel will be given when you are using an onsen (sometimes you need to bring your own or purchase one).

The small towel is the modesty towel that is given to cover your body for privacy when you’re moving about the onsen, as well as to wipe yourself up after soaking before entering the dressing room and drying yourself up. 

While you are in the bath, you can place the small towel on top of your head like many Japanese do. 

Onsen baths are known for it’s benefits for the skin; hence you will reap most of the benefits when your skin is exposed to the water. 

However, the good news is, some onsens allow you to wear swimsuits. We will look into the list as you read this article! 

How Hot Is An Onsen?

The usual temperature of an onsen is 39 degrees Celsius to 42 degrees Celsius. However, it can vary from one onsen to another.

It is a good idea to always check with the specific onsen for their water temperature.

can you wear a swimsuit in an onsen

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What To Wear To An Onsen?

There’s no such thing as an onsen bathing suit, so you don’t have to think about what do you wear in an onsen. You will need to wear your birthday suit before entering the bath. 

Can You Bring A Camera To An Onsen?

I LOVE taking pictures of my trips! Unfortunately, photography is not allowed in an onsen.

I’m sure you like to take pictures, too, but keep your phones and cameras away when you’re in an Onsen because you don’t want to be seen as a pervert who likes to take pictures of naked people 😅

This rule applies to most of the onsens in Japan. You will be asked to leave your smartphones and cameras behind.

Most onsen comes with a changing room where you will remove your clothes, jewelry, and other belongings. 

You are either given a basket or a locker ( with a fee) to keep your belongings safely. 

Personal tip 1: If you want to take a picture to keep as memories or for your blog, you may want to check with the staff at the reception to ask for their permission. 

can you wear a swimsuit in an onsen

MART  PRODUCTION

Can You Visit An Onsen With Tattoos?

Visitors with tattoos are not allowed in Japan’s onsens because they are associated with Japan’s criminal underworld. 

However, you might see this rule overlooked in touristy areas to accommodate tattoo tourists. 

Can Babies/Children Visit An Onsen?

Even though there are no age limits for using an onsen, babies, and toddlers are not allowed in the tubs in some onsens.

It is unsuitable for babies because they are in diapers, and the rule is to keep the water hygienic and clean. 

However, if the kid is old enough to take a bath on their own, most onsens are gender-segregated, and kids can accompany either one of their parents to enjoy their baths. 

As parents, you need to check if the onsen will be suitable for your kids as the temperature and water types might not be suitable for their age. 

can you wear a swimsuit in an onsen

Alleksana

Can You Wear A Swimsuit In An Onsen?

Swimwear-Friendly Onsens

Can you wear swimsuit in onsen? Although it is obvious that most of the onsens in Japan have a strict rule to enter their baths naked, I’m going to save you time and list down the onsens that allow you to wear a swimsuit.

Wahoo! Good news! Keep on reading, my friend. 

can you wear a swimsuit in an onsen

Toshimaen Niwa-no-Yu

1. Toshimaen Niwa-no-Yu (Koyama, Tokyo)

This is an onsen complex that is located near the “Toshimaen” amusement park in Tokyo. 

This onsen has several types of baths (gender-segregated) and saunas that you can try.

As for their baths, there are two types of hot spring water: sodium hot spring (natural source) and carbonated hot spring (artificial). 

Besides that, they also have a cold water bath and bucket showers as well. There are some suggestions of saunas for different groups; couples, women & groups. 

So, if you’re traveling as a couple you can try their outdoor Finnish spa, outdoor jacuzzi, and drinks at the bar.

If you travel solo like me, you can enjoy their Aqua massage, Aroma steam Thermarium Sauna, and relaxation services. 

Lastly, for groups, there are tent saunas (private space), an outdoor bath, and a banquet in a private room. 

These facilities are not only limited to the patrons described above. 

You can express your wish to use any of their facilities, and their friendly staff will be more than happy to guide you.  

You can wear your swimsuit in their pool-style baths or the Bade Zone. If you didn’t bring one, no problem; you can rent it out for 440 Yen (USD 2.94) for a day.

Even though it is a pool-style onsen, the rule still says that you cannot swim or dive. 

Let’s keep your swimming skills for an actual pool or the beach. 

If you’re an Otaku (anime fan), then you can get the Japanese swimming costume or Sukumizu to enjoy your onsen baths in the anime way.

Price: Starts from 1,600 Yen to 2,770 Yen ( USD 10.70 – 18.52). They charge different prices on weekdays, weekends, and public holidays. 

Operating hours: 10:00-23:00 (last reception: 22:00)

Getting there: 

  • From Shinjuku station, take the Toei Oedo Subway Line (280 Yen, USD 1.87) to Toshimaen station. From the north exit, walk towards the Toshimaen theme park.

Once you have arrived at the park, take a right and walk down the road. The onsen will be on your left.  

Location: Google Maps

2. Hakone Kowakien Yunessun (Hakone, Kanagawa)

Would you like to experience an onsen theme park with your kids? This onsen is a theme park located in Hakone, one of the famous spots in Kanagawa. 

Interestingly, this theme park is famous for hot springs that combine some of your favorite drinks: coffee baths and wine baths. 

I love coffee, but I’m not so sure about having a bath in it 😅

But hey – if that’s your thing, you have my full support! 

Their coffee baths are mixed with brewed coffee and hot spring water. Next up is the red wine bath, where it is said that you might witness the staff spraying a Yunessun wine on bathers. 

On top of this, they also have a Rodeo mountain, a water slide, an open-air bath (with a scenic view), and indoor, ceramic, and private baths. 

The theme park is divided into a few areas, such as swimwear-allowed and no-swimwear-allowed areas, the prices vary as well, so do check it out. 

Price: From 1,000 Yen to 3,500 (USD 6.69 – 23.40)

Operating hours: Swimwear allowed area: Holiday 9 am -7 pm | Weekdays 10 am – 6 pm

No swimwear allowed area: 11 am – 8 pm 

Getting there: 

  • Take the JR Tokaido Line From Tokyo Station to Odawara Station (35 minutes by Shinkansen (bullet train), an hour and a half by train). 

From Odawara Station take the Hakone Tozan bus or Izu-Hakone Bus to the Kowakien bus stop (40 minutes). 

The onsen is just a short walk from the Kowakien bus stop. 

Location: Google Maps

3. Hotel Sun Valley Nasu ( Nasu, Tochigi)

Sun Valley is the largest resort in Nasu, with 9 accommodation styles in one location. 

This accommodation has an Oriental garden, Forest Villa, Owl Forest, Garden Sweet, The Cottage, Queens Korina, Annex, Seiunso, and the Main Building. 

The 9 accommodations are separate buildings located on the Sun Valley ground with different facilities in them.

This is an upscale onsen that gives you a mixture of traditional Japanese-style, Japanese-western-style, and Western-style room experiences. 

Additionally, they also have cottages. You can choose which accommodation you prefer to stay in from the list they have.

This place spoils you with lots of options to choose from, isn’t it? 

This resort has different types of baths, such as the hot springs zone (Yu-Yu-tengoku) with 44 types of bathing in it, and the grand outdoor baths made of Japan cypress (Hinoki).

Aqua Venus (also called Spa) is an outdoor hot spring with 18 different pools that adults and children can enjoy. 

The pools are swimwear-friendly, and you can enjoy them as the hotel’s guests or a day-tripper. 

If you didn’t bring your swimsuit, you can either buy or rent them along with other pool accessories.

Note: Some of these facilities are reserved only for hotel guests and some are open for day-trippers.

Operating hours: Each facility has different operating hours. You may want to check with the hotel’s reception. 

Getting there:

  • From Tokyo, take the Touhoku Shinkansen, and get down at the Nasu-Shiobara Station. There are free shuttle buses available to go to the hotel. 
  • If you’re taking the Utsunomiya Line, get down at the Kuroiso or Nasu-Shiobara stations. Bus services are available from Kuroiso station but there is no detail if it’s a free shuttle bus.

 Free shuttle bus service is available at Nasu-Shiobara station.

Location: Google Maps

can you wear a swimsuit in an onsen

Takaragawa Onsen 

4. Takaragawa Onsen (Minakami, Gunma)

Takaragawa Onsen is located deep in the mountains, surrounded by the Takara River. 

Most of the baths in this ryokan are open 24 hours, making it one of the best onsens for a day trip. 

A relaxing bath surrounded by mountains sounds like heaven. This reminds me of the beautiful mountains in Ireland!

This ryokan is famous for its outdoor baths. One is dedicated to women only, while the rest are mixed gender.

This is a perfect spot for guests to enjoy their baths while admiring the beauty of Gunma’s mountains and its greenery. 

When visiting this ryokan, you should only wear the bathing clothes the ryokan provides.

They do not allow guests to bring their swimsuits, so don’t bother bringing one with you. 

Swimwear prices 2,000 Yen (USD 13.37) for adults and 1,000 Yen (USD 6.69) for

Children

Operating hours: 24 hours 

Getting there:

  • From Tokyo Station take the JR Joetsu Shinkansen to Jomokogen Station. Take a bus to Minakami Station, and from there, change to the bus that heads to Takaragawa Onsen Iriguchi.

Location: Google Maps

5. Sennin-buro (Kawayu Onsen, Wakayama)

In comparison to all the traditional Japanese onsens that we have seen so far in this article, this massive man-made rotenburo (outdoor bath) will give you a different experience.

In most onsens, you can only submerge yourself to enjoy the bath but in this rotenburo, you can swim in a hot spring river.

Yeay! Finally, good news to those swimmers!

The geothermal water bubbles up at 73 Degrees Celcius and is cooled by the Oto River, creating the right temperature for bathing.

This is a public bath in a public area, and visitors must wear their swimsuits. 

This massive rotenburo could accommodate nearly 1,000 people (in Japanese Sennin-buro means one thousand people). 

There’s no doubt that this onsen is a one-of-a-kind bathing experience. 

You get to enjoy your bath with a mesmerizing view of nature surrounded by green-covered mountains and beautiful blue sky. 

You can make your own bath by digging into the riverbed or swimming in the existing ones. 

Most of the accommodations surrounding Sennin-buro provide shovels to their guests to dig their own baths if they want. 

Operating hours: 6:30 am to 10:00 pmSennin-buro is only open from December to February, right in the middle of winter.

Price: This onsen is free of charge

Getting there:

  • Kawayu Onsen is a station on the JR Senmo Line, but the onsen is located more than 3 kilometers outside of the town center. 

There is a scheduled bus service from the station to the onsen for JPY 290 (USD 1.94).

If you fancy walking along the Lozan (Sulfur Mountain), it will take you about an hour to reach the onsen.

Location: Google Maps

can you wear a swimsuit in an onsen

Ganiyu

6. Ganiyu (Nagayu Onsen, Oita)

This is probably the most exposed onsen on our list. Ganiyu derives its name from a local folklore of a crab’s love for a woman.

The word “Gani” means crab aka the crab bath.

It’s a small public and a cozy bath covered with rocks next to a river in the heart of Nagayu Onsen’s hot spring town. 

This is a mixed-gender onsen that allows bathers to bathe with or without swimsuits. Visitors can get changed under a bridge nearby. 

How exposed is this, you might think?

This is a man-made rock-lined bath alongside a river that is highly visible for passersby near the road and bridge to see you bathing O__O 

It can be intimidating even with swimsuits, but some say that the feeling of bathing out in the open is so liberating, so maybe you can give it a try!

The surrounding baths in Nagayu are known for their naturally carbonated hot spring water! Drop them by when you’re there. 

Note: This is a free-of-charge open public bath that operates 24 hours. 

Getting there:

  • By bus: From Oita station go to bus stop 4. The buses depart at scheduled times, so it’s best to check with the station.

Location: Google Maps

can you wear a swimsuit in an onsen

Mizunashi Kaihin Onsen

7. Mizunashi Kaihin Onsen (Hakodate, Hokkaido)

Located 50 KM east of Hakodate, this is an onsen (open-air bath) by the sea that appears when the tide is low and disappears when the tide is high. 

Yes, you heard that right. This is a seaside hot spring that is completely natural and free of charge!

There is a small changing room for you to get changed and enjoy your bath. As this is an open-air bath, you are allowed to wear a Yukata or swimsuit. 

The water temperature is based on a lot of factors, such as the tides and outdoor temperature. Regardless, the water will be at the right temperature for a hot spring. 

This bath is covered with rocks, so swimming is not recommended, and it can be slippery. There are accommodations in Hakodate if you plan to spend the night. 

Getting the timing right is important because the water can become too hot when the tide is too low.

You can check out the timing on the Official website of Hakodate Prefecture. 

Getting there: 

  • Take the train from Tokyo Shinkansen station (Tohuku Shinkansen) to Shin-Hakodate Hokuto station. 

It is said that there are bus services available from Hakodate station to reach Mizunashi. 

  • However, it seems like getting here by car is way easier than taking any public transportation. 

Location: Google Maps

8. Kotan Onsen (Teshikaga, Hokkaido)

Do you fancy a hot spring bath while overlooking some swans? 

Well, Kotan Onsen is a natural open-air bath that sits on the shores of Lake Kussharo surrounded by the beautiful scenery of Hokkaido.

Kotan Onsen is divided by a large rock for male and female use. You are allowed to wear a swimsuit or bring a towel here. 

There are changing rooms for men and women. This onsen is well-maintained by the local volunteers to keep it clean and hygienic for users.

Apparently, you can only see the swans from late October to April as they migrate to spend winter here. So, plan your trip around that time to experience the bath with the swans.

Getting there:

  • From Kushiro station take the Senmo line to Mashū station. Teshikaga is within a 10-15 minute walk from the station. 

Location: Google Maps

9. Koganezaki Furofushi Onsen (Fukaura, Aomori)

Another man-made seaside open-air onsen is on the list! This onsen is in between the Sea of Japan and the World Heritage Site Shirakami-Sanchi

This open-air onsen hotel is built in front of the Sea of Japan, making it a unique onsen for its guests. It’s called the gourd-shaped outdoor bath. 

The name “Furofushi” means “perpetual youth and longevity”. It is inspired by a local belief that “ those who enjoy the bath here will never grow old or sick” due to its benefits. 

Now, this makes me to go here and get some of the elixir of youth and health!

The water has a dark reddish-brown hue due to the oxidation of its iron content when exposed to the air. 

So, don’t take it wrong and assume it’s dirty water. Due to this, you will not be able to see the bottom of the bath. 

Day-trippers can take a bath during the daytime, and the evening is reserved for their hotel guests. 

The open-air onsen includes both mixed-gender and women-only baths, and the hotel provides clothes for a fee to day-trippers. 

There are also indoor open-air baths facing the sea.

Price: Day visits: 600 Yen (USD 4.01) Adults. 300 Yen (USD 2.01) Children

 2 days, 1 night with a meal – Starting from 8,000 Yen (USD53.49).

Operating hours: 8:00 am to 8:00 pm | Seaside outdoor bath closes at 4:00 pm

Getting there:

  • From Tokyo, take the Tohoku Shinkansen, and get off at JR Shin-Aomori station. Transfer to JR Oba Main Line or JR Gono Line and get off at WeSPa Tsubakiyama station.

There is a shuttle bus service provided by the hotel from the station, which requires a reservation. 

Location: Google Maps

10. Motomachi Hama Onsen (Oshima Island, Tokyo)

Onsen on an island anybody? Motomachi Hama Onsen is a famous onsen on the island of Izu Oshima, and it is a part of Tokyo but it’s not as busy as the city center. 

It’s located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean and the island’s active volcano Mount Mihara. 

This is a mixed-gender, open-air outdoor onsen that requires swimsuits and has gender-separated changing rooms and showers. 

As the ocean is on the west side of this onsen, you can see the sunset while enjoying your bath. 

Sunset while chilling? Take my money!

Price: From 150 Yen (USD 1.00) to 3,000 Yen (USD 20.06)

Operating hours: 13:00-19:00 ( 11:00-19:00 in July and August)

Getting there: 

  •  You need to take a boat to reach this Island. Take a high-speed-jet ferry from Takeshiba Port in Tokyo to Izu Oshima Island. From there, this onsen is a 4-minute walk from Motomachi port. 
can you wear a swimsuit in an onsen

Ashitsuki Onsen

11. Ashitsuki Onsen (Shikinejima Island, Tokyo)

Japan is really very generous by giving us another onsen on an island on this list! Shikinejima is an island in Tokyo that offers an onsen on the coast. 

This is a bath that is overseeing the sea but is separated from the sea by a wall of rocks. 

This onsen is also called the “surgical hot spring” due to its ability to heal cuts and scratches. 

How cool is that? O__O

This onsen is open to the public free of charge, and it is a mixed-gender bath, so wearing a swimsuit is required. 

Besides, there are other facilities available, such as changing rooms, toilets, and cold showers. 

Getting there:

  • Take a high-speed-jet ferry from Takeshiba Port in Tokyo to Shikinejima Island. 
  • You can take either a ferry or a high-speed- jet ferry. The difference between these two is the time, and in that case, the high-speed-jet ferry takes only 3 hours to reach the island. 

12. Hatcho-no-Yu (Okukinu Onsen, Tochigi)

Okukinu Onsen is a countryside ryokan located deep in the forest of Nikko National Park in Tochigi. 

Surrounded by wilderness, this onsen water is 100% natural, preserving its authenticity.  

This old-fashioned onsen was never refurbished and still preserves its old Japanese architecture. It has gender-segregated and mixed-gender baths. 

The waterfall open-air baths are exclusively for women. Their mixed open-air baths allow you to take a bath with a towel wrapped around.

You can either rent it for 400 Yen (USD 2.67) or bring your own, which is not a dark color (the color may fade due to the onsen water content). 

If you love hiking, you can explore the trails directly from the Ryokan.

Price: 500 to 800 Yen (USD 3.34 to 5.35)

Getting there:

  • From Tokyo station, take the train to Utsunomiya station and transfer to Utsunomiyaekinishiguchi to head to Nikko City Hall. From there, walk for about 4 minutes to reach Nikko City Bus.
  • The bus operates on a schedule and costs 1,570 JPY ( USD 10.50).
  • If you’re driving by car, you need to set “Meotobuchi Free Parking Lot” in your navigation and park your car there. Take the free shuttle bus service that operates based on demand to reach this onsen. 

Location: Google Maps

13. Sunayu (Yubara Onsen, Okayama)

This rotenburo (outdoor bath) is the first mixed-gender onsen at Yubara Onsen Sunayu. 

It’s located at the Yubara onsen town, right in front of the Yubara Dam and beside the Asahi River.  

Sunayu means “sand bath” because of the sand that moves from the bottom of the river when the hot water seeps out. 

These baths are available free of charge for 24 hours a day with gender-separated changing rooms. 

This rotenburo is for mixed-gender, women are allowed to wear swimwear, which they can rent for free. 

There are 3 types of baths available with different temperatures: Beauty bath, fertility bath, and long-life bath. 

Getting there:

  • Take the JR Shinkansen train to Okayama Station. From Okayama station, take the Chutetsu Bus to Katsuyama Chutetsu Bus Centre. 

From this bus center, take the bus to Yubara Onsen. This onsen is a 5-minute walk from the Yubara onsen bus stop. 

Location: Google Maps

14. Oedo Onsen Monogatari Urayasu Mangekyo (Chiba)

Oedo Onsen is the largest theme park in Chiba and is located near Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. 

This theme park has a lodging facility which is suitable for a family getaway. 

Sounds like a perfect onsen for a family with kids!

The onsen is divided into two parts: One is gender-segregated baths that do not allow wearing swimsuits, and another is mixed outdoor baths that require you to wear swimsuits. 

If you didn’t bring a swimsuit, you can rent a swimsuit for 660 Yen (USD 4.41). This onsen is also open for day-trippers. 

Getting there: 

  • Take the JR Keiyo line from Tokyo station to Shin-Urayasu. There is a shuttle bus service available from Shin-Urayasu train station.
  • From Otemachi, take the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line to Urayasu station. 

You can take the shuttle bus service from the Urayasu metro station on the Tozai line.

Price information 

Location: Google Maps

can you wear a swimsuit in an onsen

Rurikei Onsen

15. Rurikei Onsen (Nantan, Kyoto)

Rurikei is a traditional-style onsen that is tucked away deep in the mountains in Nantan, Kyoto. 

Their Bade Zone comes with different types of baths that you can enjoy wearing a swimsuit. 

Besides, it also has different types of baths as well that you can check out based on your preferences.

If you love hiking, there are hiking trails throughout Rurikei Valley that interest you. There are a lot of sightseeing spots available along the way. 

You can stay overnight at GRAX, where you can enjoy glamping and other types of activities

Price: From 400 Yen (USD 2.67) to 1,500 Yen (USD 12.04)

Getting there:

  • From Sonobe station on the JR Sagano line, take the Keihan Kyoto Kotsu bus (Hatta line) to the Hatta bus stop. From there, change to Gururin Bus from Minami-Hatta bus stop to Oku Rurikei bus stop. 

Location: Google Maps

Related Posts on Can You Wear A Swimsuit In An Onsen

FAQs On Can You Wear A Swimsuit In An Onsen:

Can You Wear Anything In An Onsen?

You’re not allowed to wear any clothing in an onsen. Some onsens follow a strict rule and allow no clothes, but some allow swimsuits. 

Should I Bring A Swimsuit To Japan?

Besides the question of can you wear a swimsuit in an onsen? Should I bring a swimsuit to Japan also come to your mind? Swimwear is reserved for pools and beaches only and should never be worn in public places such as streets or temples.

This rule is very similar to any rules in countries all around the world, so use your swimwear only when needed. 

Although swimwear is banned in onsens, we saw some exceptions to it in this article. 

Do You Wear Swimsuits In Hot Springs?

In most hot springs swimsuits are not allowed. You need to go in naked. You need to find specific onsens that allow swimsuits if you can’t bath naked.

Who Should Avoid Onsen?

You should avoid onsen if you have chronic bronchitis and fever or difficulty in breathing

Besides, it is recommended to avoid using onsen when you have a fever, active tuberculosis, severe anemia, severe cardiac or lung disease, or any other chronic illness

Consult your doctor before visiting an onsen if you fall into these illness categories. 

Which Onsen Where You Can Wear Bathing Suit Kyoto?

Rurikei Onsen. This traditional-style onsen in Kyoto with indoor and outdoor baths allows you to wear a bathing suit. 

There are other onsens in this article that allow wearing swimsuits in their facilities as well!

Can you wear a swimsuit in an onsen? There you have it, I hope all your questions on what to wear in onsen and, can you wear swimsuit in onsen are answered! 

You don’t have to feel shy & awkward bathing around strangers anymore.

Are you planning your trip already? Maximize your experience in Japan by reading other articles I have written to guide you. You can find them below the related posts. 

I wish you the best time in Japan and don’t think too much of the question “can you wear a swimsuit in an onsen?”. Don’t forget to eat the best food and immerse yourself in their beautiful culture!

Can You Wear A Swimsuit In An Onsen

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