Onsen’s are natural thermal hot springs, rising from deep within the ground. They are renowned for having therapeutic qualities. Niseko is famous within Japan for the abundance of Onsen’s within the region. The thermal baths provide for relaxation and rejuvenation after a hard day's skiing or boarding in the powder. The experience is enhanced by sipping on ice-cold beer or two. An Onsen is a wonderful way to participate in an ancient Japanese tradition. However strict etiquette must be adhered to. All bathing is done in the nude and the idea is to simply relax in the soothing water. The majority of Onsen’s provide separate areas for men and women. A typical Onsen session will cost you around ¥700. More information is available in our Onsen Guide
For bathers who are prepared to go a little further afield then this Onsen is for you. Due to its remoteness from Hirafu it receives fewer bathers than the more crowded options in town. However the verdant tranquil setting of the outside Onsen amongst strategically placed boulders and luscious fir trees make it a prime choice for bathers. Several companies run tours to the Onsen however we recommend for a great night out indulging in a private transfer, relaxing in the Onsen with a cold beer and then strolling across the parking lot to the Korean BBQ all you can eat (bookings essential)
Perhaps the most popular Onsen in Niseko Hirafu and the most crowded. The Yukoro Onsen is located in the lower village about a ten minute walk from Fresh Powder. The Onsen features a tranquil outdoor setting with high walls and snow laden boulders. Guests enter the change room, disrobe and walk downstairs to wash prior to making the dash outside to the bathing area. The natural spring water is perfect for rejuvenating the body and mind. The Yukoro Onsen is our pick for guests who want convenience of not travelling a great distance yet wish to sample the delights of this form of Japanese culture.
J-First is on the doorstep of Hirafu’s ski trails, making it an ideal place to drop in and have a quick bath prior to heading home. The Onsen is housed on a wooden platform on the downhill exterior of the hotel. The elevated position of the J-First hotel Onsen commands great views of the upper, middle and lower village as well as providing panoramic views of Mt Yohtei. We recommend taking your own modesty towel and a toiletry bag to save a few yen on the trip.
The Hirafu-tei hotel Onsen has an indoor and outdoor bathing facility. The indoor facility features several pools of varying degrees of temperatures whilst the highlight of the outdoor facility is a boutique onsen overlooking the family beginner slope and ace family pair lift. A word of caution for modest bathers. Taller guests should think twice before standing in the upper slope outdoor facility as the outer wall obscuring view into the Onsen is quite low.
The indoor section of the Alpen hotel is quite luxurious and a very comfortable bathing option, but it lacks the ambience of many of the outdoor Onsens. The Onsen does have an outdoor section but it is small and can become crowded with hotel guests. Quite often the Alpen hotel Onsen is closed for short periods of time for large school groups, so it is best to check in advance the opening times. Attached to the Onsen complex is a 22 metre indoor swimming pool and massage spa.
A trip to Japan is incomplete without a trip to an onsen. Onsens, the hot springs that serve as public baths in Japan, can be confusing for a first timer, but this addictive tradition is well worth the effort. Here is a quick guide to getting in and out of your first onsen without shaming anyone's ancestors
Many onsens have vending machine style ticket dispensers, but you need to read some kanji in order to use them. The word for adult is otona literally meaning, "big person." Roughly speaking, the kanji looks likes a man standing with his legs apart and arms straight out, next to a character similar to an upside down "y." If there's no machine or you can't understand it, simply go to the front counter and pay at the till. An onsen will normally cost between 500-900 yen ($6 - $10USD).
Most onsens are split into men's and women's. The proper change room should be obvious by color; men's is usually marked by a blue or green hanging and women's by a red or pink one. Check with the counter if you have any doubts – better to be safe. The change room will have cubbyholes with baskets for your clothes and coin lockers for your valuables. The coin lockers return your coins, so use them if they're there. If there are no lockers, leave your valuables at the front.
At this point you'll be carrying your kit and nervously adjusting your modesty towel, but it's not time to jump it yet. Inside the onsen, there will be washing areas and a pile of small plastic bowls and stools. Grab a bowl and and find yourself an open spot. Traditionally, you would fill the bowl with water and pour it over yourself to wash, but modern onsens have showers as well as taps. Clean yourself thoroughly before getting into the onsen.
If you are going to shave, do it after going into the onsen at least once just in case you cut yourself. Nobody wants to share a bath with someone who's bleeding. Also, you can carry your modesty towel with you, but wring out any soap or shampoo first.
After slowly boiling yourself clean, you reverse the process: rinse your washing area, put the stool and bowl back, and get dressed. Remember to dry off with the modesty towel before stepping into the change room so you don't drip all over the floor. Once you're out, thank the lady at the desk and congratulate yourself on surviving your first onsen (and probably not your last). An onsen is an excellent experience that you can have anywhere in Japan.
|Furano Office||Furano Apartments & Chalet Direct Phone No:|
|Address:||14-26 Kitanomine, Furano,||Apt #1:||1 BR Japanese Bath||+81 (0) 167 23 6481|
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|Address:||183-38, Aza Yamada, Kutchan-cho, Abuta-gun,||Apt #1:||3 BR Creek Side||+81 (0) 136 22 3687|
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