Hakuba Onsen - Obinata No Yu (1 of 1)

The Ultimate Hakuba Onsen Guide

After an active day in the mountains, there is no better way to rest and recharge than soaking your sores away in the hot relaxing water of a Hakuba onsen. Leave your clothes and inhibitions behind as you soak away your aches and pains in the soothing warmth of Hakuba’s top 7 onsens.


July 12th, 2021 | by Mike Humphrey


What is an Onsen

An onsen 温泉 (literally “hot water spring”) is a Japanese natural hot spring bath.  Japan is a geothermically active region and hot springs can be found literally everywhere.  It’s no surprise that Japanese bathing culture is so popular.  Water is geothermically heated to at least 25 degrees and must contain at least one of the 19 designated naturally occurring minerals in order to be designated as an onsen.   Onsens come in many shapes and sizes, indoor, outdoor (露天風呂) and if you’re looking to add a little more spark into your bathing experience even electric (電気風呂).


Events Hakuba The Ultimate Hakuba Onsen Guide 1


Why Take an Onsen

The health benefits of onsen are numerous.  The minerals in the water can help cure ailments, buoyancy and water pressure reduce vasoconstriction, and more.  But health benefits aside, there is a real pleasure in simply getting into the hot water and soaking your body.  It’s a great stress reliever, and anyone who has taken an onsen will tell you it’s an experience like no other.  Many people fret over getting naked with others, but once you’ve tried it, you won’t look back.

Hakuba Onsen - Obinata Onsen Entrance

Onsen, What to Bring?


  • Bath Towel
  • Hand Towel
  • Change of Clothes
  • Plastic bag for your wet towels
  • A bag to carry everything in



How to Take an Onsen

Onsen etiquette can seem a little daunting at first.  Communal baths are not as common outside of the land of the rising sun.  There are a few key things to remember, but what it really boils down to is respect for other bathers (being polite and keeping the water clean).

  1. Undress in the change room and store your clothes neatly in the basket or locker provided (make sure to remove all jewelry as the minerals in the water could cause damage).
  2. Take a small towel with you when you enter the bath area (you can use this to cover yourself if you feel modest).
  3. Before you get in the bath wash with soap and water at one of the shower stalls (you will need to sit down on a stool).
  4. Thoroughly rinse all the soap off your body.
  5. Head over to the tub and soak (your towel should not be put into the bathing water).
  6. When finished hop out of the tub and use your towel to remove excess water before going into the change room
  7. Get dressed
  8. Relax in the sitting area

The Do’s

  • Feel free to speak quietly
  • Feel free to move between baths (hot & cold, outdoor & indoor, etc)

The Dont’s

  • No drinking/alcohol in the baths (its not a hot tub)
  • No splashing water or running
  • No loud noises or yelling

Hakuba Onsen FAQ

Can I wear my swimsuit in the onsen?

No, an onsen is a bath, not a hot tub. There are private Hakuba onsens that will allow you to wear your swimsuit, but we recommend going for the full monty.  Take the plunge, worst case you don’t enjoy it, best case you end up finding something new that you truly love.

Can I take an onsen if I have a tattoo?

In Japan, tattoos are seen as a symbol of organized crime (Yakuza) and are frowned upon.  Many bathhouses will not allow patrons with tattoos to use their facilities.  Here in Hakuba, with the large number of foreign tourists, most onsens turn a blind eye to tattoos, but this is on a case-by-case basis.  For some resources on tattoos in Japan check out Tattoo Friendly Japan.  Most of the information is limited to bigger city centers, but there is a searchable database of tattoo-friendly onsen.

Tip: If you can’t find an onsen that accepts tattoos, you choose a hotel with a private onsen that allows you to book times.

Do I Need to Bring Soap and Shampoo?

No, most onsens provide soap and shampoo, all you need is your towel and personal after bath products you may use.


Top 7 Hakuba Onsen

  1. Hakuba Highland Hotel -Tenjin no Yu


    (Photo Credit: Hakuba Highland Hotel)

    Why it Made the List:
    Tenjin no Yu comes in at number 7 on our list because of its spectacular views. Located on the east side of the valley in the Hakuba Highland Hotel, the outdoor bath gives you a stunning panorama of the Hakuba mountain range. The outdoor bath is a great spot to sit and relax while gazing at Hakuba’s peaks from across the valley.

    Cost: (Adults 700 Yen/Children 300 Yen)
    Amenities: Body soap, Conditioner, Shampoo, Hairdryer
    Rental Towel Set: (Hand towel 100 Yen/Bath towel 300Yen)
    Hours: 11:00AM – 9:00PM (for non-hotel guests)

  2. Obinata no Yu

    Hakuba Onsen - Obinata Onsen
    *Note the above photo is from the winter, during the green season there is a men’s and women onsen that are separate

    Why it Made the List:
    Obinata no Yu is the only private onsen on our list (private during winter only). If you are looking for an option that allows you to keep your swimsuit on in a Hakuba onsen, this one is for you. You and a group of friends will be picked up from your hotel and whisked away to this private retreat where you can soak and laze away the day.  During the green season, the onsen is open to anyone and doesn’t require a private booking.

    Winter Cost: 1-5ppl 20,000 *incl. private shuttle to and from your accommodation
    Green Season Cost: (adults 650 Yen/ Children 300 Yen)
    Hour: July 17th, 2021 – October 10th, 2021 – 12:00 AM – 8:00 PM

  3. Mominoki Hotel Onsen – Shobei no Yu

    Hakuba Onsen - Mominoki Onsen

    (Photo Credit: Mominoki Hotel)

    Why it Made the List:
    The Mominoki Hotel has a beautiful Hakuba onsen that not only pleases the senses but is also known for having one of the highest alkalinities in Japan. The high pH will exfoliate and remove toxins from our skin as you soak in the newly renovated bath.

    Cost: (Adult 1,000 Yen/Children 500 Yen)
    Amenities: Body soap, Conditioner, Shampoo, Hairdryer
    Rental Towel: 300 Yen
    Hours: 5:00 AM-10:30AM ,12:30 PM -12:00 AM

  4. Happo no Yu

    Hakuba Onsen - Happo no yu

    (Photo Credit: Happo no Yu)

    Why it Made the List:
    Located in the center of Hakuba, right across from the bus terminal, Happo no Yu offers a full Hakuba onsen experience and a great view of Happo One Resort. The surrounding plaza also includes several restaurant options and of course an ice cream shop. If you are in a rush, or just want to soothe your feet after a day in the mountains there is also the free foot onsen located outside.

    Cost: (Adult 800 Yen/Children 400Yen)
    Amenities: Body soap, Conditioner, Shampoo, Hairdryer
    July 17th, 2021 – October 10th, 2021 – 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
    October 11th, 2021 – December 17th, 2021 – 12:00 PM 8:00 PM
    December 18th, 2021~ – 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM

  5. Green Plaza Hotel Onsen

    Hakuba Onsen - Cortina Green Plaza Onsen

    (Photo Credit: Hakuba Green Plaza Hotel)

    Why it Made the List:
    Located on the second floor of the Green Plaza Hotel, this Hakuba onsen has baths at different temperatures, an outdoor bath with a view, and to top it off a waterfall.  What better way to relax those weary muscles than to let the falling water massage away all your aches and pains.

    Cost: (Adult 1,300 Yen/Children 650Yen)
    Amenities: Body soap, Conditioner, Shampoo, Hairdryer
    Rental Towel: 210 Yen
    Hours: 3:00 PM – 11:00 PM

  6. Sierra Resort Hotel Onsen – Mizubasho no Yu

    Why it Made the List:
    Set inside two traditional 120-year-old and 160-year-old buildings, this is one of the largest and most beautiful onsens in Hakuba.  The bath is 100% pure onsen water with no additional tap water or heating.  The natural wooden beam structure creates a relaxing experience with a traditional Japanese feel.

    Cost: (Adult 1,000 Yen/Children 500Yen)
    Amenities: Body Soap, Shampoo, Conditioner, Combs, Razors, Hair Dryers, Shower Caps
    Rental Towel Set: 300 Yen
    Hours: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM (for non-hotel guests)

  7. Mimizuku no Yu

    Hakuba Onsen - mimizuku no yu

    (Photo Credit: Mimizuku no Yu)

    Why it Made the List:
    Mimizuku no Yu is known for its pure water and healing properties.  For locals, it’s the go-to place when you need to soothe sore muscles after a day spent skiing and or hiking Hakuba’s mountains.  With two smaller baths (one indoor, one outdoor) and stunning views of the Hakuba mountains, this is a must-try for onsen lovers.  Many Hakuba locals tout Mimizuku no yu as being the best onsen in Japan.

    Cost: (Adult 650 Yen/Children 300Yen)
    Amenities: Body soap, Conditioner, Shampoo, Hairdryer
    Rental Towel Set: 350 Yen
    July 17th, 2021 – October 10th, 2021 – 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
    October 11th, 2021 – December 17th, 2021 – 12:00 PM 8:00 PM
    December 18th, 2021~ – 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Complete Hakuba Onsen Map


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Tell us what you think of our list, which Hakuba onsen is your favorite?

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