Taking Day Trips to Onsen in Japan

After writing about visiting Japanese onsen in my blog post ‘Rotenburo Heaven – Private Open-Air Baths in Fukushima’ a few weeks ago, I realised I should make a post about day-passes at onsen, which can be a bit confusing for visitors to Japan. So I thought I’d write about “higaeri nyuyoku” today!

 

What is Higaeri Nyuyoku?

‘Higaeri Nyuyoku’ (日帰り入浴) literally translates as “entering the bath on a day visit”. I’ve translated it here as “day trips to onsen”.

Iwase Yumoto Onsen (3)

Basically it refers to when visitors – who are NOT overnight guests – use a Day Trip Pass to bathe at a facility’s onsen during set day-time hours.

If you’re wondering what onsen are and what kind of facilities offer onsen visits, please see my post ‘Rotenburo Heaven – Private Open-Air Baths in Fukushima’ here!

You can do higaeri nyuyoku at many ryokan hotels in Japan.

You can also visit public onsen for a short time during the day, but you wouldn’t call this “higaeri nyuyoku” because it would suggest that there’s an alternative such as staying the night at a public onsen – which you can’t do!

 

What time can I bathe during the day?

Public baths are often open every day and have long opening hours.

However, ryokan hotels have limited day pass onsen (higaeri nyuyoku) hours decided around the hours when the onsen are unlikely to be used by overnight guests.

For this reason, most small ryokan hotel only allow day pass onsen visits from around 10:30 (after check-out time) until around 15:00 (check-in time).

onsen noji

Some bigger facilities are open much later, for example Hanamomo no Yu in Iizaka Onsen, Fukushima City, which is open until 22:00.

 

What to take with you?

I recommend taking:

  • Small towel for your face / hair (Sometimes provided at ryokan hotel, but often at a charge)
  • Larger towel to dry your body with (Sometimes provided at ryokan hotel, but often at a charge)
  • Small container to put any piercings in. (Some onsen water properties can alter the colours of jewellery so definitely take off any earrings / neclaces etc before getting in).
  • Make-up wipes, so you can take off your make-up before you dip in the bath. Ryokan hotels often have face washes with make-up removing properties but it might be hard to read the Japanese instructions and you’ll probably feel more relaxed knowing that your own products won’t hurt your skin.
  • Deodorant/Antiperspirant (There have been many times when I regretted not bringing this with me)
  • A change of clothes – especially underwear! (There’s nothing better than changing into new clothes after bathing after a day of sightseeing).
  • Moisturiser – your face can feel dry after a bath! There are often different skin products available at ryokan hotels, but if you have a preferred brand or sensitive skin, you might want to take your own.
  • Make-up, if you would like to redo your make-up after the bath.
  • Water – Make sure to keep hydrated!

onsen 5

 

If you’re going to a public onsen, definitely take the following things:

  • Shampoo, conditioner & body wash
  • Larger towel to dry your body with
  • Small towel for your face / hair (and also to use to clean your body, in case there isn’t a shower)
  • Water (ryokan hotels often have water fountains or tea decanters, but public onsens won’t.
iizaka-onsen-fukushima-24
Sabakoyu – Public bath in Iizaka Onsen, Fukushima City

If you have tattoos, check the policy of the onsen you’re visiting or considering booking a private bath. Some people I know also use large plasters (band-aids) to cover their tattoos.

How much?

As mentioned in my post a few weeks ago, the prices vary on the kind of facility and its scale. But expect to pay less than 500 yen for a public onsen, and between 500 yen to 1700 yen for a ryokan hotel.

 

Where can I go in Fukushima?

I’ll try and make a database of Ryokan hotels in Fukushima that offer one day passes to their baths, but for the time being, I recommend you look at the websites of onsen associations in the Prefecture.

Here is a list of onsen associations with information about public baths/higaeri nyuyoku on their homepages in English:

 

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