What is an Onsen? [Definition, Meaning]

While hot baths may not be a rare occurrence in anime, one type does separate itself apart from the others. These are the natural hot springs that bless our screens when it’s that time of the year for the school trip. These scenic, warm ponds are the perfect place to drown your sorrows or simply look for a place to relax. Another word that may come to your ear is a rotenburo which is a more specific term that means an onsen that is outside. These amazingly comfortable pools are the perfect ending to any rough day.

Onsen in Japan

Onsen are exceedingly popular in Japan. As the water is heated underground, it rises to the surface creating a steady stream of warm water. The onsen in Japan are a great place for a communal bath. These pools allow you to socialize while soaking up the rich health benefits of the water. Onsen are often near or owned by inns that will enhance their beauty by putting certain stones, such as marble, and other intriguing and relaxing objects around them. The idea of an onsen is to enhance the natural beauty of the surrounding area and become one with nature. Nudity is often a must in onsen, as they observe the traditional way of bathing in Japan. Other etiquette rules must be observed as well in modern day onsen, such as putting long hair up, showering before entering and not eating and drinking in the onsen. All these rules are created to allow the most pleasant and relaxing visit possible.

Onsen in Anime

Onsen are quite popular in anime. A famous example being the onsen that Bishamon uses for her personal bathing in Noragami. This beautiful onsen is characteristically styled with the strategically placed rocks and the surrounding nature which mesh together to create a serene place for the war goddess to relax. The onsen located outside the building in Yuragi-sou no Yuuna-san is another example. While the onsen in this anime are gender specific, it is an example of how onsen can be used when owned by an inn. Onsen are all around in anime, it is just important to know how to distinguish them from a traditional sento or bath house.

Final Thoughts

There are many onsen that grace our screens at home. However, experiencing it yourself is quite different. This serene experience is not something that could be laid out to read through words on a page but must be witnessed firsthand. With that said, the next time you are able to go to Japan, or if you already live there, you should visit an onsen to be able to experience this relaxing and therapeutic bath. However, if no plans to visit Japan are in your future, there are plenty of natural hot springs around the world for your enjoyment. If you have enjoyed this article and have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below. Happy bathing!

yuri-on-ice-wallpaper-1 What is an Onsen? [Definition, Meaning]


Author: Lauren

I am an anime lover, travel addict and wanderlust seeker. If I am not watching anime or reading manga, you will probably find me in my garden, playing the piano or writing. I love video games, particularly Final Fantasy and am anxiously awaiting the next release (though it probably will not be for at least five years). I hope that you will take a look into my top 5 anime so you can learn more about me. I hope that my articles will enlighten you and help you grow in knowledge of the anime community!

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