The Healing Properties of a Japanese Onsen

Mar 6th, 2009 | By | Category: Lifestyle

When visiting or living in Japan a visit to an onsen, or hot springs resort, is an experience that shouldn’t be missed.  The water of a Japanese onsen is rich in a variety of minerals and is naturally heated by the earth with water temperatures exceeding 25 degrees Celsius. A visit to a Japanese onsen is relaxing and rejuvenating but it can also offer relief from some of your ailments.


Here are eight types of onsen you will find in Japan and the healing properties of their water:

  1. Simple Onsen contain small amounts of radical carbon, salt and other minerals and are good for relaxation and offer general health benefits and relaxation.  Simple nnsen are the most common in Japan.
  2. Salt Spring Onsen a greater concentration of minerals and salt than the simple onsen and are abundant in various regions of Japan.
  3. Carbonated Onsen are a step up from the simple of salt onsen with the main difference being that the water is carbonated.  Carbonated Onsen are said to aid those with heart disease, blood circulation disorders and neurological disorders.
  4. Sodium Chloride Onsen are said to offer relief for those who painful joints, arthritis or rheumatism.
  5. Iron Springs can be identified by their boiling red water and are said to offer relief for painful joints, menopausal discomforts and chronic skin diseases.
  6. The water of a Sulphur Onsen may smell like rotting eggs but it is said to prevent hardening of the arteries can offer relief from a variety of heath problems.
  7. Radium Onsen are said to be effective at lowering high blood pressure and preventing hardening of the arteries and are also good for those suffering with digestive disorders or rheumatism.
  8. Acid Onsen are indigenous to Japan and the water’s high concentration of hydrogen ions may irritate the skin.  Those with sensitive skin may want to skip this type of hot spring. Those with chronic skin diseases and diabetes are said to get relief from the waters of an acid Onsen.


Famous Japanese Onsen by Region

Each region of Japan offers visitors the opportunity to soak their cares and ailments away in an onsen.  Consider adding one of these great onsen to your itinerary when you visit:

Arima Onsen near Kobe or Nara Hot Springs in the Kansai Region
Beppu Hot Springs in the Kyushu-Okinawa Region of Japan  (pictured on left)
Ooedo Onsen Monogatari in located in the Odaiba area of Tokyo
Nozawa Onsen in Chubu
Famous onsen in Tohoku and Hokkaido
Furano Onsen in Hokkaido
Shirahama Onsen in Chugoku
Dogo Onsen in Shikoku

Image Credit:  Flickr, Private outdoor onsen bath & IMG_2559a.jpg

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  1. Nice intro to the wonderful world of Onsen! I recently visited a nice little onsen in Northwestern Miyagi and put some pics on my blog…

  2. […] The Hitachinokuni Yosakoi Festival in Daigo (located in Ibaraki prefecture in the Kanto region of Japan), is held the third weekend in May every year. This year the 6th annual staging is this weekend May 16-17 and is expected to have as many as 80 teams and hundreds of dancers.  There are also plenty of great local places to eat and grab a nice soak in an onsen. […]

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