Top 10 Onsen in Japan 2024: Voted by Singaporeans

Travel on 18 Jun, 2024

Top 10 Onsen in Japan 2024: Voted by Singaporeans

Japan is home to over 2,300 onsen hot springs, each boasting different types of water, healing properties, colours, water temperatures and more. With so many hot springs in Japan, it can be tough to know where to start! Why not pick a hot spring popular with Singaporeans for the ultimate experience?

We polled 225 Ikeda Spa customers to create a ranking of the ten best onsens in Japan based on Japan’s 111 most popular onsen destinations.

Bonus tip: Those with a JR pass should take advantage of this two-week travel itinerary to explore different onsens in Japan. If you don’t know how to onsen, check out the ultimate guide to the Onsen for Singaporeans.

Extra! Extra! CNA938 saw this article and interviewed us!

Two people stand smiling in a radio studio with "CNA 938" logos. The text reads "LIVE STREAM with Melanie Oliveiro on CNA938!" Inset images show a person speaking into a microphone in a broadcasting setup, perhaps discussing the serene experience of onsens in Japan.

Melanie Oliveiro, radio DJ of CNA938, wanted to learn more about this article and invited Eric Tan, CEO of Ikeda Spa, to chat about what got Singaporeans buzzing. Here are some of the questions they talked about.

Melanie: “Where are the places with the most onsens in Japan?”

Eric: “It’s important to distinguish between hot springs and onsens. A hot spring has water at least 25 degrees Celsius, while an onsen typically maintains a temperature of around 42 degrees Celsius.

Oita Prefecture, specifically Beppu Hatto, is renowned for having the most hot spring facilities, with at least 5,000 hot springs. For onsens, Hokkaido stands out with approximately 250 facilities.”

Melanie: “Here in Singapore, you actually run an onsen facility. It is enclosed and unlike the natural ones in Japan with water flowing from the mountains, how do you create an equally therapeutic soak for your clients?”

Eric: “To bring the onsen experience here at Ikeda Spa, we initially approached NEA to sponsor us with the spring water from the famous Sembawang hot spring, but our request was rejected.

Instead, we collaborated with a company in Japan to extract minerals from various famous onsens and create mineral salts. These salts are added to the water to recreate an authentic experience from Japan. We installed a heater to maintain the water at 42 degrees Celsius and imported authentic Hinoki cypress wood tubs from Japan to ensure a genuine experience.”

Melanie: “Can you take us to some of the best onsen outdoor destinations? What special features does each of these onsen have?”

Eric: “This is a really tough question. “Best Onsen” is very subjective. I have a few of my favourites, which made me curious about which onsens Singaporeans love. That’s why I polled my customers and wrote the article. Each of them had some unique features. And there are still many more that I haven’t explored.”

Here’s the list of Japan’s top 10 favourite onsens well-loved by Singaporeans. Read more about them below.

10th place – Lake Toya Hot Spring

Experience the serenity of outdoor onsen in Japan, featuring hot spring baths that overlook a calm body of water with a distant boat on the horizon. Snow-covered mountains provide a stunning backdrop, enhancing this tranquil setting.

Lake Toya offers a breathtaking glimpse of Hokkaido’s magnificent nature. This scenic area is home to numerous onsen ryokans overlooking the majestic lake. Conveniently accessible from Sapporo, Hokkaido’s largest city, Lake Toya allows you to enjoy relaxing hot springs and explore nearby cities like Sapporo and Otaru all in one trip.

Location: Toyakoonsen, Toyako, Abuta District, Hokkaido 049-5721

Admission fee:
Adults: 1200 yen (tax included) Elementary school students: 600 yen (tax included) Infants: Free

9th place – Aso Onsen

Outdoor hot spring with clear water, surrounded by rocks, trees, and green grass, under a wooden roof. In the background, a mountain range can be seen against a partly cloudy sky—a serene scene reminiscent of an onsen in Japan.

Aso-Kurokawa Onsen, nestled among lush mountains and situated along a serene river, exudes a relaxed ambience. Many ryokans in the area feature unique open-air baths, each offering a special experience.

Location: 〒869-2402 Kurokawa, Manganji, Minamioguni Town, Aso County Kumamoto Prefecture

Admission fee: Daytime Admission: 600 yen
Overnight Stay: From 20,000 yen per person including two meals

8th place – Takaragawa Onsen

A serene riverside hot spring resort at dusk features a wooden building with warm lighting, surrounded by trees and rocky terrain, next to a gently flowing stream, reminiscent of the tranquil onsens in Japan.

Takaragawa Onsen is one of the four major hot springs in Gunma Prefecture, located in the Minakami Onsen area. It is renowned for its large open-air bath, which is said to be the largest in Japan, and its beautiful setting along a pristine stream. A leading travel guidebook has ranked Takaragawa as one of Japan’s ten best onsen, and it receives many visitors from English-speaking countries. Day-trip visitors are also welcome to enjoy the bath.

The baths at Takaragawa Onsen are available for men and women, and visitors can rent designated bath attire when taking a soak. There are also women-only baths for women who are uncomfortable with mixed-gender baths.

Location: 1899 Fujiwara, Minakami-machi, Tone-gun, Gunma

Admission fee:
Adults (Junior high school students and over): ¥2,000
Elementary school students: ¥1,500
Pre-school children and under: Free

7th place – Noboribetsu Onsen

A natural hot spring emits steam amidst autumn foliage in a mountainous landscape, with a boardwalk leading up to it—truly capturing the essence of onsens in Japan.

Noboribetsu Onsen, located in the northeast part of Muroran City, Hokkaido, is renowned as one of the northern island’s three most famous hot spring destinations. Situated at the base of Mount Hiyori, it boasts a daily flow of over 10,000 litres of hot spring water through its various onsens. The town’s atmosphere is surreal, with mist and smoke creating a fantasy-like ambience, as well as the bubbling and gushing of boiling waters in the distant valley. The town is a popular tourist spot due to its abundance of onsens, offering a remarkable selection of 11 different kinds of thermal waters, widely recognized for their therapeutic benefits.

Location: Noboribetsuonsencho, Noboribetsu, Hokkaido 059-0551, Japan

Admission: ¥700-2000

6th place – Nanki-Shirahama Onsen

Clear swimming pool with submerged rock in the center, surrounded by a stone wall. In the background, a view of the ocean and lush greenery under a blue sky with scattered clouds evokes the tranquil beauty of onsens in Japan.

Shirahama Onsen boasts a rich history spanning 1,300 years. Renowned as one of Japan’s three oldest hot spring resorts, it is also celebrated as one of the most stunning beach resorts in West Japan. Interestingly, despite the absence of a nearby volcano, Shirahama hot springs continue to thrive, adding to the area’s unique charm and allure.

Location: Shirahama, Shirahama Town, Nishimuro District, Wakayama Prefecture 649-2211

Admission fee: 4,800 yen per person 

5th place – Shimabara Onsen

A modern wooden structure adjacent to a tranquil infinity pool overlooks a vast body of water with mountains in the distance under a clear blue sky, reminiscent of serene onsens in Japan.

Sukayu Onsen Ryokan is a hidden gem in Oirase & Hakkoda Onsen, Aomori, offering a pure and rustic ambience at a 900-meter highland in the Hakkoda mountain system. Notably, it accommodated staff and actors from the movie “Hakkodasan” (1977). The ryokan is renowned for its “magical healing hot spring above the clouds” and is honoured to be designated as the national number one hot spring in Japan in 1949. Its expansive facilities and coed bathing are highlights, and it preserves the traditional mountainside Japanese homestead ambience. The large coed bathing area spanning 265 square meters offers a captivating and authentic Japanese bathing experience in a tranquil natural setting.

Location: 50 Sukayuzawa、Aza Minami arakawa, Arakawa, Aomori-shi, Aomori, 030-0111 Japan

Admission fee: ¥460

4th place – Nyūtō Onsen

Outdoor onsen in Japan with steam rising, surrounded by snow and traditional wooden buildings.

Nyuto Onsen (乳頭温泉, Nyūtō Onsen) is a cluster of rustic hot spring ryokan nestled in eastern Akita Prefecture’s mountains. Known for traditional hot spring baths at eight ryokan, Tsurunoyu, the oldest inn, boasts a history of over 300 years.

The name “Nyuto Onsen” refers to nearby Mount Nyuto’s shape rather than the water’s appearance. Hot spring baths are exclusively for ryokan guests but open to day visitors during specific hours for a fee. Ryokan often offers gender-segregated and mixed-gender pools, ensuring diverse bathing experiences in this tranquil mountain escape.

Location: Japan, 〒014-1204 Akita Prefecture, Semboku, 50 Kokuyurin Sendatsuizawa Tazawa Aza

Admission fee: One-day pass costs 1,000 yen

3rd place – Nuruyu Onsen

Entrance to a traditional Japanese building with a tiled roof, signs in Japanese, and steps leading down to the doorway. Flowers in planters are on either side of the entrance, welcoming visitors to this serene onsen in Japan.

Nuruyu Onsen, founded in 1803 in Fukushima, Japan, offers an aluminium-containing spring with a soothing temperature of 32 degrees Celsius. Known for its healing properties, it’s praised for treating eye and skin conditions. Despite facing destruction during the Meiji Boshin War, it has been rebuilt over the years, with its oldest building dating back to around 1872.

Location: Tsuruizumi-79 Nuruyu, Kuroishi, Aomori Prefecture

Admission fee:

Adults: 250 yen (Middle school age and above)
Children: 100 yen
Under 3 years: free

2nd place – Beppu Onsen

Geothermal hot spring with steam rising, surrounded by lush greenery and a fence. A red torii gate is partially visible in the background, capturing the serene beauty typical of onsens in Japan.

Beppu is a famous hot spring destination in Japan, with eight different springs, including Beppu Onsen and Kannawa Onsen. These areas offer public baths and ryokans with various bathing facilities. Beppu stands out for its large amount of hot spring water and diverse bath types, including sand baths, steam baths, and mud baths, making it a unique and popular choice for visitors seeking different spa experiences.

Location: Beppu Eki-machi 1-chome BIS South Building, 12-13, Ekimae-cho, Beppu-shi, Oita 874-0935 Japan

Admission fee: ¥400 per entry

1st place – Lake Kawaguchi Onsen

        Outdoor hot spring bath with wooden framing overlooking a calm lake and distant snow-capped mountain under a clear blue sky—experience the tranquility of traditional onsens in Japan.

Lake Kawaguchi Onsen is a charming hot spring resort near Lake Kawaguchi in Japan. It offers visitors a delightful blend of scenic beauty and relaxing thermal baths. Surrounded by breathtaking views of Mount Fuji and the picturesque lake, it provides a tranquil atmosphere to unwind and rejuvenate. With various traditional ryokans and modern hotels, visitors can indulge in the unique experience of Japanese hot spring culture while admiring the stunning natural surroundings. Whether it’s a soothing dip in the therapeutic hot waters or a stroll along the lake, Lake Kawaguchi Onsen promises a memorable and invigorating escape for travellers seeking relaxation and adventure.

Location: 132 Azagawa, Fujikawaguchiko, Minamitsuru District, Yamanashi 401-0303, Japan

Admission fee:


10:00-19:00PM: 1,400¥ (750¥) 1,700¥ (800¥)

19:00PM-22:00PM: 1,200¥ (650¥) 1,500¥ (700¥)

Can’t travel to visit these onsens in Japan?

A visit to Japan is incomplete without taking a dip in an Onsen. We hope this article is helpful and saves you time researching Onsens to try in Japan. If you cannot travel to Japan but still want to experience a Japanese Onsen, Enjoy Authentic Japanese Onsen here at Ikeda Spa Singapore. Indulge in a Hinoki Onsen bath made from cypress wood and infused with various bath salts, providing a truly relaxing experience. Plus, it’s a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Click on the banner below to find out how to get your FREE onsen bath!