Japanese hot spring experience

Onsen experience

Japan, being a volcanically active country, is known for its natural hot springs. It is called onsen in the Japanese language and is popular with the locals as well as visitors.

When we were in my husband’s hometown, my MIL wanted to take us to a an onsen. It was summer when we went there and I gently asked her that the last thing I would want to do on a hot summer day was soak my body in hot, volcanic water.

So, she took us to a foot onsen instead.

A foot onsen (Ashiyu)  is what the word is – a hot spring for the feet. It is a nice place to soak your tired feet in. This one is just a few meters away from MIL’s house and free and open to the public, 24 hours.

MIL tied Pristine’s dress so she wouldn’t get wet. We pose for photos before soaking.


By the way, the sign on the wall says, “Sen nen no yu”, which literally means, “a thousand year-old hot spring”. Hubby’s hometown is a quiet onsen town and some onsens that existed hundreds or thousands of years are still there, in it’s original state.

Her first impression of the foot onsen? HOT! She nervously smiles (maybe thinking, are we nuts to put our feet into this boiling water!?) as she removes her feet from the water.


It wasn’t that bad and my tired feet loved the warm sensation. What’s great about it is that we wouldn’t have to do the tedious task of removing all our clothes – I only have to roll up my jeans. No kidding, one has to be butt-naked when in a Japanese hot spring. 


Pristine tried again. She soaks her feet then puts it out and soaks it again. It might not be the case had it been winter.

Onsen experience

It was a lovely experience for her. MIL was delighted her granddaughter tried and did not complain much.

Next time, I’ll take her to a real onsen, like this:

Onsen indoor

I think she’ll like it as much as I do. And we’ll go on winter.

If you enjoyed this post, check out Little girl in the big city and other upcoming posts where I document our trip to Japan last summer (I know it’s been a long time ago but better late than never!). We/I took Pristine to places to let her experience the Japanese way of life, most of it, she is not aware or already forgotten.