6 tips to optimize your onsen experience

20 Apr 2018 in Just Relax

Hot spring baths are naturally relaxing – but there’s an art to optimizing their benefits. Discover all!


Planning a visit to a Japanese hot spring bath (onsen), such as those at HOSHINOYA Karuizawa?


Here’s how to achieve total relaxation!


  • Slowly does it

Start by pouring 10-20 buckets of hot water over yourself to prepare for the 40°C heat.



Then slowly submerge your body up to the waist. Take a deep breath and continue until you’re shoulder-deep.


  • Don’t stay in too long

The aim is to raise your body temperature by 0.5-1°C – the perfect amount to boost immune function and raise your metabolism without overstressing the body. To achieve this, exit the tub when your forehead starts to sweat, usually after about 10 minutes.



Any subsequent baths should be 10 minutes maximum and waist-deep only.


  • Breathe deeply

Using deep breathing techniques helps draw in beneficial minerals from the water into the lungs.


Focus your breathing on the tanden, the point on your abdomen about three finger widths below the navel. It’s thought to control life energy.


  • Hydrate


On average, you’ll sweat 800ml of water during an onsen, so sip water regularly before, during and after.


  • Stretch

Stretching before and in the bath relaxes the body and helps improve your circulation.



Pre-bath hip rotations and in-bath ankle rotations are great exercises.


  • Rinse, don’t wash

After bathing, wash yourself with water from the hot spring to cleanse your body without washing off the spring’s minerals. That way, they’ll continue working their magic on your skin.



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