From the golden dunes of Tottori to the somber Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima, the Chugoku region welcomes visitors all around the world. Whether you’re an outdoor adventurer or a history buff, what better way to relax after a busy day of traveling than visiting one of Japan’s rarities—a mixed-gender hot spring?
Konyoku onsen, or mixed-gender hot springs, have been a part of Japanese culture for hundreds of years. These hot springs have been disappearing every year thanks to strict regulations and a lack of interest from Japanese citizens. Because of this, these baths are on the brink of extinction. By paying a visit to one of these historical establishments, you can experience a forgotten Japan while supporting the continuation of a classical tradition.
Complete your visit to the Chugoku region with a shortstop—or even a whole night’s stay—at one of these relaxing konyoku onsen spots!
1. Akashiya (Tottori)
Soak in the serene, open-air garden bath of Akashiya with friends or a partner. Historic relics decorate this ryokan (traditional Japanese inn), creating a time capsule of old Japan. Though day passes are unavailable, guests are guaranteed a more quiet and luxurious experience shared by other travelers staying in Akashiya.
2. Chorakuen (Shimane)
Chorakuen is the most famous mixed onsen in the Chugoku region, and once you’ve visited, you won’t be surprised as to why. Since 1909, Chorakuen has hosted men and women who arrive together to share the fresh, hot spring water. This bath is also said to be the biggest konyoku onsen in Japan, making it a must-visit for all hot spring enthusiasts.
3. Megahira Hot Spring (Hiroshima)
Located close to the Megahira Ski Area, Megahira Hot Spring is an excellent aprés-ski stop or a lovely mixed-gender onsen destination. Visitors are required to wear bathing suits when using the mixed-gender onsen, which is great for first-timers. It also boasts a unique wooden bath made from a 45,000-year-old tree!
4. Misasa Onsen Ryokan (Tottori)
This mixed-gender hot spring is much bigger than most konyoku onsen in Japan (though not as big as Chorakuen). For around ¥3,000, you can reserve a private bath that can comfortably fit 20 people for 45 minutes. This is a great option for large traveling groups who wish to experience an onsen together with a little more privacy than a public konyoku onsen has to offer.
5. Togo Yu-asis Ryuhokaku (Tottori)
Families that wish to experience onsen together can do so comfortably at Ryuhoukaku, where bathing suits are required. Ryuhoukaku provides guests with 10 different hot spring pools, two saunas, and a large outdoor bath that overlooks Lake Togo. This child-friendly environment is a wonderful way to pass the time while relaxing in a natural hot spring.
6. Yubara Onsen Sunayu (Okayama)
In Japanese, suna means “sand,” but don’t let the name fool you. There is plenty of hot water to soak in. This pool was named “sand bath” because the sand at the bottom of the hot spring spurts up with the hot water from its source. Sunayu also offers modesty towels for women who don’t feel comfortable with bathing completely nude.
7. Yunogou Bishunkaku Onsen (Okayama)
Are you looking to experience a traditional mixed bath while staying at a ryokan that also happens to have English services? Yunogou Bishunkaku Onsen Ryokan checks off all of those off the list! Visitors can choose to take a dip in the beautiful outdoor mixed-gender hot spring for a couple of hours or easily make a reservation on the ryokan’s English website.
Do you know of any mixed bathing onsen in Japan around the Chugoku region that we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments!