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Japan Travel Tips

Perfect Trip Guide

Japan Travel Tips

Perfect trip Guide

How about private onsen (hot springs) in Japan?

Onsen (hot springs)

Tue, 22 Aug 2023

If you're traveling to Japan, indulging in an onsen is an absolute must-do. If you've ever been enchanted by the serene beauty of hot springs surrounded by Japan's beautiful landscapes, you'll surely delight in the special charm of Japanese onsen.

However, Japanese onsen are usually public and separated by gender. If you're traveling with a partner or family, why not enjoy a private bath? Unlike public baths, tattoos are typically allowed in private onsens in Japan! Relaxation at its finest is guaranteed!

Introduction to Onsen Culture in Japan

Onsen, or hot springs, are more than just a bathing experience in Japan. They're a soul-soothing ritual, deeply rooted in Japanese culture. Imagine sinking into warm, mineral-rich waters while surrounded by breathtaking nature. Sounds dreamy, right? That's the magic of onsen.

But wait, there's more! Ever heard of private onsen? Picture a secluded hot spring all to yourself or with your loved ones. No crowds, no noise, just pure relaxation. Intrigued? Let's dive into the exclusive world of private onsen.

The Appeal of Private Onsen

private onsen at ryokan

Private onsen are an elevated experience. Whether it's a romantic getaway with your partner, quality family time, or a peaceful solo retreat, private onsen cater to various needs. Often referred to as "family baths" in Japan, private onsen are typically mixed-gender and offer the ultimate privacy.

Most private onsen require advance reservations at accommodation facilities, but some ryokan (traditional Japanese inns) even offer rooms with private onsen attached. Imagine enjoying a hot spring bath right from the comfort of your room. Luxury at its finest!

The appeal doesn't stop there. Have a tattoo? No worries! Many private onsen are more flexible with tattoos, allowing guests to bathe without concerns.

Ready to embark on this exquisite journey? Hold tight, as we explore everything you need to know about private onsen in Japan, from costs and etiquette to the best places to enjoy them. Your soothing escape awaits!

Definition and Types

A private onsen, often referred to as a "family bath" in Japan, is a hot spring facility that you can reserve for personal use. Imagine having a whole hot spring to yourself, without the need to share with strangers. It's relaxation at a whole new level!

Here's a table summarizing the different types of private onsen you can enjoy in Japan:



In-Room Private Onsen

Found in some ryokan (traditional Japanese inns), the onsen is attached to your room.

Reserved Private Onsen

Requires advance bookings at various accommodation facilities, providing exclusivity and privacy.

Private Onsen for Couples, Families, etc.

Unlike most public onsen that separate genders, private onsen are typically mixed-gender. Often called "family baths," they're perfect for couples or families who want to enjoy the onsen experience together.

Whether you're on a romantic vacation with your partner or a fun family trip, private onsen cater to various needs. And, of course, it's a treat for solo travelers as well!

For Whom


For Couples

An intimate setting, perfect for a romantic escapade.

For Families

A great way to enjoy quality family time without worrying about privacy.

For Solo Travelers

A peaceful retreat to rejuvenate and reflect.

Price of Private Onsen in Japan

price at private onsen in Japan

If you've experienced hot springs in Germany, Czech Republic, or Hungary, you might be concerned about the cost of private onsen.

But fear not! Private onsen in Japan can be enjoyed at a noticeably lower price compared to private baths abroad. Here, we'll provide information to help you plan your budget.

Average and Factors Affecting Price

The cost of private onsen can vary widely based on several factors. Here's a table to guide you.

Despite these factors causing fluctuations in the price of private onsen experiences, the general average cost ranges from 2,000 yen ($15) to 10,000 yen ($70) per hour.



Type of Onsen

In-room onsen may cost more compared to reserved private onsen at accommodation facilities.


Onsen in popular tourist destinations or luxurious ryokan might be more expensive.

Time of Booking

Booking during peak seasons such as holidays might increase the price.


Some private onsen charge by the hour, so the length of your stay can affect the cost.

Etiquette of Private Onsen

Onsen Etiquette at private onsen in Japan

Compared to Japan's public onsen, private onsen allow for more personal enjoyment. However, just because it's private doesn't mean there are no rules to follow.

Here, we'll introduce you to the essential etiquette and manners to know when savoring a private onsen.

Clothing Rules: Can You Wear Swimsuits or Clothes?

Swimsuits Status

Acceptance in Private Onsen

No swim suits even in private baths

Swimsuits are prohibited for sanitary reasons.

Swimsuits are often prohibited in public onsen. So, can you wear swimsuits in a private onsen? The answer is NO. Swimsuit wearing is not allowed, even in private onsen. You will need to enjoy the hot spring in the nude.

Tattoo Acceptance in Private Onsen

Tattoo Status

Acceptance in Private Onsen

Tattoos Allowed

Many private onsen are more relaxed about tattoos compared to public onsen.

Worried about having a tattoo? Compared to public baths, private baths are generally more relaxed about tattoos. Depending on the onsen facility, tattoos may be permitted in private baths.

It's wise to consult with the onsen facility in advance, as some might have specific policies.

Gender Separation in Onsen

Unlike public onsen that usually separate genders, private onsen offer a different experience:

Gender Separation

Description in Private Onsen


Common in private onsen, often referred to as "family baths."

Booking and Utilizing Private Onsen

Most private onsen require advance reservations, especially within accommodation facilities. Here are some tips:

  • Book Early: Popular spots fill up quickly, especially during peak seasons, and there might be limited availability.
  • Communicate Preferences: If you have specific needs or questions, don't hesitate to ask when booking.
  • Follow Facility Rules: Each onsen might have unique rules, so always follow the guidelines provided.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Private Onsen in Japan

Private onsen in Japan are a fascinating experience, but they might also raise several questions, especially for first-time visitors. Here, we've compiled some of the most frequently asked questions along with their answers.

How much does a private onsen cost in Japan?

Private onsen costs can vary widely, ranging from 2,000 to 10,000 yen per hour, depending on factors like location, type of onsen, and time of booking.

Can you wear clothes or a swimsuit in a private onsen?

Yes, many private onsen allow swimsuits, especially for those uncomfortable with nudity. Regular clothing is generally discouraged, and it's best to check with the facility beforehand.

Are there private onsens for couples in Japan?

Absolutely! Private onsens are perfect for couples seeking an intimate and romantic setting. Many ryokan offer private onsens that can be reserved for couples.

Are onsens separated by gender?

While public onsens usually separate genders, private onsens are often mixed-gender, making them suitable for couples, families, or mixed-gender groups.

Where can I find private onsens in Japan?

Private onsens are located across Japan, with popular destinations including Hakone, Kyoto, Beppu, Atami, and Noboribetsu. Research and online booking platforms can help you find the ideal location.


Embarking on a private onsen journey in Japan is more than a luxurious treat; it's an immersion into a timeless tradition, tailored to your comfort and preferences. With this guide, you're now equipped with the knowledge to enjoy this unique experience fully.

Whether it's a soul-soothing solo retreat, a romantic escapade, or a delightful family gathering, private onsen in Japan await your discovery. So pack your bags, and perhaps a swimsuit, and dive into the tranquil world of private onsen. Your ultimate relaxation destination is calling!