Where to Find Mixed Gender Onsen in Japan
Mixed-gender bathing has a long and rich history in Japan, but it is also difficult to find English information on many of them because they are rather traditional. Fortunately, GaijinPot Travel and GaijinPot Blog have guides and listings of where to find a natural hot spring where men and women can bathe together.
Some places are mystical hot springs outside in caves or rivers, others are simply private baths you can rent out, which are certainly not your traditional mixed-gender onsen but do offer a more intimate onsen experience.
A common problem foreigners run into while in Japan is not knowing the endless cultural rules and taboos. If you stick your chopsticks into a bowl of rice you will see natives’ faces go white and the longer you stay here, the more you learn about these types of rules the hard way.
In particular, I have had many questions and concerns about konyoku onsen, or mixed-gender hot spring, bathing etiquette. Please read this Guide to Mixed Gender Onsen in Japan before going to any of the locations listed.
Listings by Region
- These are listed form northern Japan to southern Japan, introducing a collection of our GaijinPot Blog articles.
- They amount to more than 60 mixed-gender onsen and other places where men and women can bathe together in Japan.
Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan, is a popular travel destination for thrill seekers and foodies alike. The annual average of over 500 centimeters of snow makes the island a haven for skiers and snowboarders, while specialties such as fresh seafood and Sapporo-style tangy miso ramen bring hungry visitors from around the world. Whether you’re the adventurous type or the hungry type — or somewhere in between — spend some of your downtimes at one of Hokkaido’s konyoku onsen, or mixed-gender hot spring.
The northern Tohoku region is known for its beautiful mountains, delicious rice, snowfall and hot springs. What better way to enjoy all of the above than at a ryokan (Japanese inn) that can provide access to these Tohoku treasures?
One of Japan’s largest mixed-gender onsen, Gunma’s Takaragawa Onsen definitely tops the list, but there are a few more, including island onsen to see and bathe in, in the central region of Kanto.
Chubu is a massive region in the middle of Japan that comprises nine prefectures. It is also home to Japan’s beloved active volcano, Mt. Fuji. With so many prefectures packed into one region, you can find yourself lost in a sea of exciting things to do. But fear not, for one must-do activity on your long list of sights and experiences to take part in a visit to a konyoku onsen, or mixed-gender hot spring.
Konyoku onsen in various other regions are already scarce, but they’re especially hard to find in the Kansai area. Many of these baths require a reservation in advance, but your preparations are later compensated with an experience that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. When making a reservation at a Japanese inn, simply state that you are wanting to book the kashikiri (private) onsen.
Many of Shikoku’s konyoku onsen have not survived the passage of time. This list, therefore, includes many kashikiri onsen, or private rental baths, that can also accommodate mixed-gender bathing while letting you soak up the best of the region with your partner, family or friends. This is another great way to experience onsen culture for those who aren’t keen on bathing with strangers.
Shikoku is a samll island region of Japan, comprising hundreds of smaller islands both inhabited and not. It is one of the “undiscovered” destinations you can travel to in Japan.
Finding public baths that allow men and women to bathe together in every prefecture of Kyushu is difficult. Below, you will see a list of public baths in three of Kyushu’s prefectures: Kagoshima, Kumamoto and Oita. Though not all of these locations require a reservation, some are in a ryokan, or Japanese inn, and only allow guests who are staying at their facilities to use them. Some have designated times for mixed bathing, in which case, we have made note in the descriptions. Here, then, are nine onsen in Kyushu where you can soak up the experience of mixed gender bathing.