Chubu is a vast 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 and see. However, one must-do activity on your list of experiences should be a konyoku onsen, or mixed-gender hot spring in Japanese.
For centuries, Japanese people bathed in mixed-gender facilities, but after the Meiji Restoration, bathing with the opposite sex became taboo. As a result, it’s harder to find konyoku onsen. Support this time-worn ritual of Japanese society while enjoying some mineral-rich onsen with your partner, family, or friends and see if it helps warm your connections.
After all, nothing sounds better after long days of adventuring through Chubu’s many historical and natural wonders than resting your tired muscles in a hot spring. There is a mixed-gender onsen for any budget and personality, so don’t hesitate to try this iconic Japanese experience before it disappears forever!
1. Amagiso (Shizuoka)
This location is perfect for shy onsen goers and families who want to bathe together while wearing bathing suits. Not only is there a mixed onsen, but this location also offers a swimming pool! The most iconic part of Amagiso is the surrounding landscape. A roaring 30-meter tall waterfall cascades from between the rough terrain surrounding the bath.
2. Awanoyu (Nagano)
It isn’t surprising that Awanoyu’s iconic milky water is in Japanese tourism ads. It’s one of the more famous onsen that still brings in the crowds, even (or especially) after being open for 106 years. This hot spring is great for shy onsen goers because not only are towel coverings required, but the milky water creates an additional barrier to help over oneself.
3. Fujiyoshi (Shizuoka)
For those with expensive tastes, Fujiyoshi will satisfy your hunger for high-class food, luxurious rooms, and a mixed-gender onsen with the best views. The ryokan (Japanese inn) is situated at a high elevation, giving patrons a breathtaking view of Sagami Bay. If you want some private time with your company, Fujiyoshi also offers private baths that can hold anywhere from two to six people.
4.Kurogane Onsen (Yamanashi)
Kurogane Onsen has the nickname “the unexplored bath inn.” They only way you can access this ryokan is via a 25-minute trolley ride on the Kurobe Gorge Railway from Unazuki Station to Kuronagi Station. The large outdoor bath sits next to a river, and has clear, teal water that shows off beautiful stonework of the that can comfortably fit multiple families. Women are allowed to wear bathing suits or towels.
5. Lamp no Yado (Ishikawa)
Crashing waves and the cries of gulls create an inviting and tranquil mood at the isolated Lamp no Yado. This old establishment shows off Japan’s traditional and immaculate ways of hospitality, providing guests with delicious seafood cuisines, cozy rooms, and family-friendly mixed-gender baths. The hot spring is a rotenburo, or outdoor bath, that requires guests to wear bathing suits.
6. Oyadani no Yu (Ishikawa)
Submerge your body in the hot waters of Oyadani no Yu while you gaze upon rapids and waterfalls only meters away. This onsen is located in Hakusan National Park, making it a perfect stop for lovers of the outdoors. Because Oyadani no Yu is in the middle of the woods, it is free of charge. Remember, you are not allowed to bathe with a swimsuit.
7. Tsubame Onsen (Niigata)
Entertain your adventure-seeking soul with a trip to Tsubame Onsen. After a short 15-minute walk from the sleepy onsen town, you will find milky mineral pools hidden in the surrounding foliage. This location has two baths to enjoy, Kawara no yu and Ogon no yu, both requiring no entrance fee. Though Kawara is a mixed-gender bath, Ogon has separate baths for men and women. Keep in mind that this is a very natural onsen, meaning that there are no showering or restroom facilities.
8. Yarimikan (Gifu)
If you plan on visiting the historical Takayama village in Gifu, be sure to stop by Yarimikan where you can experience not one, but two different konyoku onsen. The more popular of the two baths has a large flat rock in the middle of the bath, which can be used to rest your towel or beverage. Yarimikan is located in a famous hot spring area at the foot of the Japanese Alps.