Hot Bath in YuTagawa

Remember a couple of posts ago when I described the baths here?  They are all private. (Unusual for an onsen.)

The above photos show the doors to two of the three baths in the hotel.

If the bath is empty, you may go in. If it is occupied, you must wait.

This little sign tells you that the bath is currently unoccupied. (Turn it around when you enter. The other side said “Occupied.”)

I’m going in by myself. Such a luxury! Notice my “yukata” (not a kimono.) It’s what people wear in onsen hotels.

Rules about onsen.  (This sign is issued by the Onsen Association of Yamagata.)

By the way, many hot baths in Japan have rules against tattoos…or so I hear. But I personally don’t notice (or pay attention) to signs forbidding tattoos.  I don’t have any tattoos, so it is irrelevant to me. Through the internet, I realized that many foreigners who have tattoos have issues with the “Anti-tattoos rule.”  (The reason tattoos are forbidden is because they are less common in Japan than in countries like the United States. Here in Japan, supposedly only yakuza mobsters get tattoos.)

The water temperature is 104-109 degree Fahrenheit.  Zowie Wowee!  Although my husband said “I know you like this water because it’s not so hot.”


Some onsen water is much hotter.

In an onsen like this, the water comes from the earth itself.   Hot springs are common in Japan, and thus the tradition of bathing sprang up.  (sprang up? Get it? tee hee)

You must wash yourself before getting in the bath. This rule is a biggie.  The bath is not meant to clean you, but to relax you (or warm you up if the weather is cold.)

That’s the hot bath in this particular room.

I poked my head in the other room and that is another bath.  It’s bigger than the other one. I asked permission to take photos, by the way. Usually I don’t do photos in onsen (of course) because naked people are running around.


Sorry. Did I forget to mention that? Everybody is naked. That’s why men and women at regular onsen are divided into different baths. No swimsuits!


People have little white towels that they carry around to cover their private parts. Modesty. But yeah, there’s a lot hanging out. Most onsen-goers are elderly so, um, it’s a good chance to see what the human body looks like as it ages.  (Hint: Droopy.)

Onsen water is hot, so you need to stay hydrated. Water as we leave!

By the way…….Quiz time!

Yu means water.  Mizu means water. But what’s the difference?

(Jeopardy Theme Music Plays)

Tra la la la Tra la la

Tra la la la LA lalalala

Tra la la la Tra la la

Duh daduh duh duh duh duh

Yu means “Hot Water.”  (Many onsen have the word yu in their names.)

Mizu means “Cold or Room Temperature Water.”

Since in English, we just say “water” for hot and cold water, I have to catch myself and use the correct word!

About kireikireikireiI am a mom.

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