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When we talk about places to visit in Japan, onsen are definitely one of the things to experience that has gained popularity among foreign visitors. In Osaka there are many well-known onsen, boasting many kinds of amenities, from different kinds of saunas to outdoor baths, for nighttime relaxation and stargazing.
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Since Japan is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire and has over one hundred active volcanoes, onsen are abundant. Onsen are very popular in Japan for both locals and foreign tourists alike.
An onsen is a Japanese term for a hot spring, though the term also includes other bathing facilities. In the past, onsen were located outdoors, but as time evolved, the term also included indoor bathing facilities. Onsen, in their traditional sense, utilize hot water coming from the active volcanoes of Japan. The hot, calming water with its health benefits is often the main attraction for both locals and tourists to visit Japanese onsen.
Tennen Onsen Naniwa-no-Yu or the Natural Hot Spring Naniwa is one of the most famous onsen in Osaka, Japan. One of the reasons it is popular among foreign tourists is because the water in Tennen Onsen Naniwa-no-Yu is made out of spring water bubbling up from over 650 meters underground. Because the water is naturally coming from the earth, the water is said to be good for one’s skin and cure illnesses such as muscle and joint pain, naturally makes people calm and can aid in relaxation. The Tennen Onsen Naniwa-no-Yu facility hosts beautiful and unique bathing facilities amidst a stunning rooftop garden landscape, especially during sunsets. It also has different bubble baths for everyone to enjoy - including a micro-nano bath and a jet bubble bath. Saunas are also very popular in Tennen Onsen Naniwa-no-Yu with steam, infrared, and salt sauna for visitors to enjoy.
※ Naniwa no Yu, "Information"
Taishi Onsen Natural Hot Spring Spa is located at the base of the majestic Mt. Nijo. This onsen is especially popular among tourists who are fond of hiking and traversing Mt. Nijo, a popular hiking area even for newbie hikers. Tourists can enjoy a hot bath in the Taishi Onsen Natural Hot Spring Spa after a long, satisfying day of hiking the mountains. The facilities that these onsen offers are cypress open bath spaces and a magnificent communal rock bath with the breathtaking view of Mt. Nijo. Tranquil overnight lodges are also offered for tourists who want to spend the night near the onsen area.
※ Taishi-onsen, "ご宿泊料（入湯料込）"
Nose Onsen is a hotel with a hot spring and a wide variety of other activities that tourists can enjoy. Aside from these activities, this onsen also offers a majestic and breathtaking view of the mountains. In fact, the Nose Onsen's main attraction is the outdoor baths so tourists can enjoy the excellent view while they lounge around and relax in the hot spring water. You don’t have to stay at the hotel - you can utilize their 日帰り (higaeri) onsen plan where you can just pay for a bath. Nose Hot Spring also offers sumptuous Japanese lunch buffets for tourists to enjoy the mouth-watering Japanese meals after a relaxing soak.
※ Nose Onsen, "Hot spring"
Nantenen is another famous Japanese onsen in the Osaka region. What makes this onsen unique is that it offers sumptuous lunch packages that feature only the best Japanese cuisine - with majestic Japanese architecture as your background to boot! Here, you can also enjoy Japan’s breathtaking landscapes and beautiful gardens.
Though technically not in Osaka, this is one famous onsen we couldn’t leave off the list which is only an hour from Osaka. Arima Onsen in Hyogo Prefecture is considered as one of Japan’s oldest onsen as it was established in the 600s! Arima Onsen hosts three different types of hot spring, the Kinsen or the Golden Hot Spring and two different types of Ginseng or the silver hot springs. The Kinsen is named as such mainly because the yellow-colored water comes from iron and salt. The Ginseng Spring is colorless; hence it was aptly named as such. Arima is also a great place to stay because it’s a traditional onsen town, meaning you can get the full onsen experience.
※ Arima Hot Springs Tourism Association, "Miraculous Hot Spring Never Found All Over the World"
Spa World Osaka is a hot spring theme park with numerous facilities inspired from various places around the world. Some of its more popular onsen baths include a European-inspired onsen bath that is exclusively for women and an Asian-themed onsen bath used solely by men. The European themed onsen is decorated with gorgeous ancient Rome and Greek architecture. The Asian-themed onsen is decorated with the usual traditional Japanese architecture, including a Balinese-inspired themed bath.
Yukainoyu is another popular onsen, especially if you are visiting Japan with your children in tow! Aside from natural hot springs, Yukainoyu offers a plethora of exciting activities perfect for both adults and children alike! Yukainoyu offers a free comic café with 18,000 comics, fitness gym, and a bouldering wall aside from the great outdoor hot spring.
The Minoo Onsen Spa Garden is the largest hot spring theme park in the west of Japan with a magnificent view of the Japanese skyline as the onsen is located with an elevation of 180 meters! Aside from the hot spring, Minoo Onsen Spa Garden also offers a wide variety of activities such as sumptuous buffet places where you and your friends can enjoy the one of the largest buffets in Kansai (they’ve got over 140 food options!). Aside from the open-air bath they offer, it will surely be good bonding time with family and kids as they have a manga room, a Japanese theater, traditional festival games, a table tennis area, and a tatami area to enjoy your Japanese tea for free! Also in the Minoh area are attractions such as the Minoh Waterfall, the Minoh Insect Museum, and some renowned temples.
※ Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau, "Mino Onsen Super Garden Hot Springs Spa"
For kids and those kids at heart, this onsen is perfect for you as it features the classic and famous yellow rubber duck, head on to Kutsurogi-no-Sato Yuraku as it combines a hot spring bath with the playfulness of child bathtime! Enjoy your bath time in the soothing natural hot spring waters with thousands of cute artificial rubber ducks floating around you. And of course, there are traditional baths too if you prefer. It was voted the third best onsen in Osaka in 2019 by Nifty!
Indeed, Japan hosts many onsen that remain to be a tourist attraction for foreigners. When visiting Japan, tourists can surely enjoy the tranquil, calming waters that natural onsen offer, together with relaxing landscape views. Visiting Japan with kids is more enjoyable because of the various activities and attractions good for family bonding! Make sure you get to visit at least one onsen to complete your Japan experience!
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