Before you are actually planning a trip to a hot spring you might be wondering how much it costs to visit an onsen in Japan. Luckily, there are a lot of awesome but affordable hot springs and even an overnight stay at an onsen ryokan can be cheaper than you might think. So how much is an onsen in Japan? Here is what I found out after looking at the admission fees for about 200 different hot springs.
The costs of visiting an onsen in Japan range from 800円 to 1,300円 (less than $10, 10€). But you can also find free rotenburo, less famous hot springs, as cheap as 200円 (less than $2, 2€), and large onsen facilities for more than 2,000円 (less than $15, 15€). Onsen hopping is possible from 1,300円.
This range is a great overview of how much it costs to visit an onsen so that you can plan your trip. If you want to know about some of the cheapest hot springs and best onsens you can check out my list below. I have listed 15 beautiful onsens for under 1,500円 ($14, 12€). At the end of the post, you will also find more information about the costs for onsen ryokan and private onsen as well as some free rotenburo.
Onsen For 500円 ($5, 4€) or Less
1. Anayu – Kurokawa Onsen (100円)
Location: Kurokawa Onsen, Kumamoto Prefecture
Cheap Onsen in Picturesque Onsen Town: Apart from free rotenburo and natural hot spring baths, Anayu (黒川温泉 共同浴場 穴湯) is the cheapest onsen I could find so far and it is located in one of the most beautiful onsen towns in Japan Kurokawa Onsen. There is a caveat, though. This onsen is unisex and it is located inside a tiny cottage. If you want to read more about it you can check out my post about 32 tattoo-friendly onsen in Japan.
Access: Just a short walk from the Kurokawa Onsen bus stop. Kurokawa Onsen can be reached by train and bus in about 4 hours from Fukuoka (Hakata Station) and from Yufuin Onsen and Kumamoto City in about 2 – 3 hours by bus.
Price: 100円 (about $1 or 1€)
2. Attakayu – Takayu Onsen (250円)
Location: Takayu Onsen, Near Fukushima, Fukushima Prefecture
Extremely Tattoo Friendly Gender-Separated Onsen: Attakayu Public Onsen (高湯温泉 共同浴場 あったか湯) is located in the small hot spring resort Takyu Onsen in Fukushima. There are 2 gender-separated open-air baths and they also have a private onsen that can be rented for an additional fee. On their webpage, they say that they welcome tattooed guests and that the private onsen is barrier-free.
Access: 38-minute bus ride from Fukushima Station. From Tokyo, you can get to the onsen in about 2- 3 hours if you take the Shinkansen.
Price: 250円 (about $2 or 2€)
3. Shin-Hotaka No Yu – Okuhida Hot Springs (300円)
Location: Shin-Hotaka Onsen, Okuhida Onsen, Gifu Prefecture
Beautiful Natural River Onsen Bath: Every time I can talk about Shin-Hotaka No Yu (新穂高の湯) I’m happy because I love this onsen so much. This beautiful river onsen is located in Gifu’s famous hot spring resort Okuhida and not far from one of Japan’s most beautiful cities Takayama. Unfortunately, this mixed-gender hot spring can only be used from November until the end of April and it might be closed after a typhoon or when the river rises too high. But as long as you are fine with that and the fact that it is unisex (women can wear a towel in this onsen, though) you have to see this place with your own eyes.
Access: 90 minutes by bus from Takayama Station (Gifu Prefecture) or about 3 hours by bus from Matsumoto Station (Nagano Prefecture).
Price: 300円 (about $3 or 3€)
4. Dogo Onsen Honkan – Spirited Away Onsen (460円)
Location: Dogo Onsen, Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture
The Onsen From The Anime “Spirited Away”: Dogo Onsen Honkan (道後温泉本館) located in Matsuyama City is another really cool but cheap hot spring. It is located in one of Japan’s ancient hot springs and the onsen that inspired Hayao Miyazaki’s anime “Spirited Away”. This historic onsen has gender-segregated indoor baths and you can also find private onsen baths for 1,690円 (about $16 or 14€) in the same onsen town – actually just across from this onsen in a new annex called Asuka No Yu bathhouse.
Access: 25-minute streetcar ride away from Matsuyama Station. You could get to Matsuyama and Dogo Onsen in about 3 – 4 hours from Hiroshima.
Price: 420円 (about $4 or 4€)
5. Maguse Onsen – Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort (500円)
Location: Nozawa Onsen Town & Ski Resort, Near Nagano, Nagano Prefecture
Open-Air Onsen Near Foreign-Friendly Ski Resort: Maguse Onsen (馬曲温泉) is a beautiful mountain onsen located near the famous and extremely foreign-friendly ski resort Nozawa Onsen. This hot spring is renowned for its beautiful views of Japan’s Northern Alps and is often considered one of the top onsens in Eastern Japan. Here you can soak in gender-separated indoor baths and the spectacular rotenburo surrounded either by greenery, tons of snow, or beautiful autumn leaves.
Access: 15 minutes by taxi from Iyama Station. The onsen is 45 minutes away from Nagano and so you should be able to get there in about 2.5 or 3 hours from Tokyo.
Price: 500円 (about $5 or 5€)
Beautiful Onsen For 1,000円 ($9, 8€) or Less
6. Tsurunoyu Onsen – Nyuto Hot Spring (600円)
Location: Nyuto Onsen, Akita Prefecture
Snow Onsen With Mixed Outdoor Hot Spring Bath: Tsurnoyu Onsen (鶴の湯温泉) is a popular onsen ryokan located in Nyuto Onsen, Akita Prefecture’s most famous hot spring resort. It is also one of the oldest Japanese inns in that area with a history of 400 years. Here you will find 2 gender-separated indoor baths, one big rotenburo that is unisex, and a women-only open-air bath. On Mondays, the outdoor baths are usually cleaned and not available to day-trippers, so don’t forget that when planning your visit.
Access: This is a little bit of a problem since there is no bus stop nearby. The closest one is “Tsurunoyu Onsen Iriguchi” but it takes about 50 minutes on foot to get to the onsen from the bus stop. To Nyuto Onsen you can get by bus in about 40 – 50 minutes by bus from Tazawako Station (3 hours from Tokyo).
Price: 600円 (about $6 or 5€)
7. Hakuba Highland Hotel – Japan’s Northern Alps (700円)
Location: Hakuba, Near Nagano & Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture
Renowned Mountain Onsen With Alps View: Hakuba Highland Hotel (白馬 ハイランド ホテル) is another beautiful outdoor onsen located in the Japanese Alps not far from Nagano. You might know Hakuba and Hakuba Happo-One Snow Resort from the Winter Olympics in 1998. After the Olympics were held in the village it became one of Japan’s most popular and internationally renowned ski resorts. This onsen is located 700 meters above sea level and offers spectacular views of Japan’s Northern Alps. In winter it also turns into a beautiful snow onsen.
Access: 15 minutes on foot from JR Hakuba Station, the hotel is a 15-minute walk away. From Nagano, you can get to Hakuba Highland Hotel in 90 minutes if you take the bus and from Tokyo, it will take you about 2.5 – 3 hours.
Price: 700円 (about $7 or 6€), but each month on the 26th it is only 400円
Website: www.hakuba-highland.net (Japanese)
8. Hottarakashi Onsen – Near Tokyo (800円)
Location: Yamanashi, Yamanashi Prefecture
Onsen With Views of Mt. Fuji Near Tokyo: Hottarakashi Onsen (ほったらかし温泉) is a mountain onsen that you might know from the anime for Yuru Camp△. It is a tattoo-friendly onsen near Tokyo located in Yamanashi Prefecture with beautiful views of Mt. Fuji as you can see from the picture. This onsen is a popular place for watching the sunrise over Mt. Fuji in the morning and famous for its sparkling city night view after sunset and you can soak here from 4:30 or 5:30 until 22:00 o’clock. It is also known for its gentle alkali hot spring water that is good for the skin.
If you have a tattoo you can still come here for a soak. It’s a tattoo-friendly onsen!
Access: There is no public transportation so you have to take a taxi from Yamanashishi Station. Taxis are unfortunately quite expensive, and you will have to pay 2,400円 (about $24 or 20€) for the 10-minute ride. From Tokyo, you can get here in 2 – 3 hours.
Price: 800円 (about $8 or 8€)
Website: www.hottarakashi-onsen.com (Japanese)
9. Yama no Hoteru Musouen – Yufuin Onsen (900円)
Location: Yufuin Onsen, Oita Prefecture
Onsen Famous For Its Large Outdoor Baths: Yama no Hoteru Musouen (夢想園) is an onsen ryokan located in one of Kyushu’s famous hot spring towns Yufuin not far from Beppu. Its outdoor baths measure 273.6 square meters and 182.4 square meters and have beautiful views of Mt. Yufu’s twin peaks. Another good thing about this onsen is that it has 2 private onsens that can be used for free by families or a travel group. So as long as you are not traveling alone you can enjoy a beautiful mountain onsen and a private onsen for just 900円. That is insanely cheap!
Access: 19 minutes on foot from Yufuin Station or 7 minutes by taxi. From Fukuoka, you can get here in about 3 – 4 hours.
Price: 900円 (about $9 or 8€)
10. Manza Onsen Nisshin Kan – Gunma Prefecture (1,000円)
Location: Manza Onsen, Gunma Prefecture
Best Winter Onsen Near Tokyo: Manza Onsen is a hot spring resort located in Gunma Prefecture and Manza Onsen Nisshin Kan (万座温泉 日進舘) is one of its most popular onsens. The resort is known for having high-quality springs and Japan’s most sulfuric hot spring water. If you are looking for a snow onsen near Tokyo this is your best choice because in winter at an altitude of 1,800 meters, you will definitely be surrounded by tons of white powder. Nisshin Kan features 8 different outdoor and indoor baths and they also have a rentable private onsen that you can use for 45 minutes and costs 2,000円 (about $20 or 18€).
Access: 40 minutes by bus from Manza-Kazawaguchi Station or 1:40 hours by bus from Karuizawa Station. From Tokyo, it takes about 4 hours to get to Manza Onsen.
Price: 1,000円 (about $10 or 8€)
Onsen For Under 1,500円 ($14, 12€)
11. Refresh Park Yumura Hot Spring – Hyogo Prefecture (1,100円)
Location: Yumura Onsen, in between Tottori & Toyooka, Hyogo Prefecture
Hot Spring Park Where You Can Wear Swimsuits: Refresh Park Yumura (リフレッシュパークゆむら) is a huge onsen park located in the northwest of Hyogo Prefecture near the Sanin Kaigan National Park. It features several indoor and outdoor onsen baths as well as a swimming pool. Here you can enjoy gender-separated onsen facilities and an outdoor onsen area where you have to wear a bathing suit since it is a mixed-gender area. They also have some really cool onsen baths like a cave onsen or one with a waterfall and the unisex outdoor area makes it a great onsen for families or a group of friends.
Access: 1.5 hours by bus from JR Yoka Station on the San-in Line. Kinosaki Onsen, the most famous onsen town near Kyoto and Osaka is 2 hours away. From Himeji and Kobe, it takes about 3.5 hours, and Osaka and Kyoto are about 4.5 hours to the onsen park.
Price: 1,100円 (about $11 or 9€)
Website: www.refresh.co.jp/yumura (Japanese only)
12. Fufu No Yu Onsen – Arashiyama Near Kyoto (1,200円)
Location: Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Near Kyoto & Osaka, Kyoto Prefecture
Public Onsen Spa Near Kyoto’s Bamboo Grove: Fufu No Yu Onsen (風風の湯) is one of the few onsens near the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in Kyoto. Here you will find 2 indoor baths and 1 outdoor bath in each of the gender-separated bathing facilities. One of the indoor baths is a silky onsen with milky hot spring water and there are also 2 types of saunas, a dry and a mist sauna. If you are looking for an onsen in or around Kyoto and Osaka this is definitely one of the more beautiful and better ones.
Access: 16 minutes on foot from JR station is Saga-Arashiyama Station. From Kyoto Station, it takes about 35 minutes to the onsen.
Price: 1,000円 (about $10 or 8€) on a regular weekday, but it is 1,200円 (about $12 or 10€) on weekends. Also, bring your own towel or otherwise you have to borrow one for an additional 200円.
Website: www.hotespa.net/spa/fufu (Japanese)
13. Kurokawa Onsen Hopping Pass – Try 3 Onsen (1,300円)
Location: Kurokawa Onsen, Kumamoto Prefecture
Onsen Hopping in One of Japan’s Most Picturesque Onsen Towns: Do you remember Kurokawa Onsen (黒川温泉) from the beginning of this list when we introduced the cheapest onsen? You can also get yourself an onsen hopping pass called “Nyuto Tegata” and enjoy 3 of its beautiful outdoor baths. With more than 30 onsen and hot spring ryokans to choose from this is definitely the best value option. Even after visiting all the other famous onsen towns in Japan, I still think that Kurokawa Onsen is one of the best and the most beautiful. I promise you won’t regret going all the way to Kyushu.
Access: The nearest station is JR Aso Station. From there it is a 50-minute bus ride. Fukuoka is 4 hours away.
Price: 1,300円 (about $12 or 11€)
14. Gero Onsen Hopping Pass – Try 3 Onsen (1,300円)
Location: Gero Onsen, Near Nagoya, Gifu Prefecture
Onsen Hopping in One of Japan’s Top Hot Spring Resorts: Gero Onsen (下呂温泉) is often considered one of Japan’s top 3 hot spring resorts and is loved by many visitors for its high-quality hot spring water. In the town, there are numerous Ashiyu (onsen foot baths), onsen, and onsen ryokans. Kurokawa is more picturesque, in my opinion, but Gero Onsen is also very beautiful and traditional and the onsen town has a special atmosphere. Gero Onsen’s hot spring pass is called Yumeguri Tegata and allows you to visit 3 hot springs as well.
Access: Take the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen to Nagoya, transfer to the limited express train bound for Hida, and get off at Gero Station. It will take about 1.5 – 2 hours from Nagoya, about 3 hours from Kyoto, and about 4.5 hours from Tokyo.
Price: 1,300円 (about $12 or 11€)
15. Tenzan Onsen – Hakone Near Tokyo (1,300円)
Location: Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture
Tattoo-Friendly Onsen Village With 2 Bathing Facilities: This tattoo-friendly onsen village is located in Hakone and called Tenzan Hot Spring Village (天山湯治郷). There are 2 separate hot spring facilities, one is called Higana Hot Spring Tenzan and the other one is called Kayoi Hot Spring Ikkyu. They are both really beautiful but Kayoi’s admission fee is slightly cheaper. The hot spring is often considered one of Hakone’s most beautiful hot springs, so I can highly recommend it if you are looking for an amazing onsen near Tokyo.
Access: If you have a JR Pass take the Shinkansen to Odawara and transfer to a bus or one of the non-JR trains that will bring you to Hakone-Yumoto Station. From Hakone-Yumoto Station it is a 7-minute bus ride and short 2-minute walk. You can get here in 1.5 hours from Tokyo.
Price: Higana Hot Spring Tenzan costs 1,300円 (about $12 or 11€) and Kayoi Hot Spring Ikkyu costs 1,100円 (about $10 or 9€).
Website: www.tenzan.jp (Japanese only)
Bonus: Free Onsen For 0円 ($0, 0€)
Kotan Onsen Hot Spring (Hokkaido Prefecture): Kontan Onsen (コタン温泉露天風呂) is a natural hot spring bath near Lake Kussharo in Hokkaido Prefecture. Without a car, it is not easy to get there but there is a bus that will bring you from JR Mashu Station to the onsen. When soaking here you can often see swans nearby.
Yubara Onsen Sunayu (Okayama Prefecture): This is a beautiful river onsen located in the north of Okayama Prefecture. Yubara onsen (湯原温泉郷) is one of the most famous hot spring towns in Western Japan and makes for a nice side trip from Okayama or Kurashiki. Sunayu (砂湯) is a free but mixed-gender open-air bath but there are rental bathing garments available for women at the Ryokans and the tourist center.
Kawayu Onsen (Wakayama Prefecture): Located along the Oto River in the south of Wakayama Prefecture Kawayu Onsen (川湯温泉) is not far from Kumano Kodo, the famous pilgrimage routes, and some of the most beautiful shrines in all of Japan. You can dig your own little onsen basin or use one of the pre-dug ones to enjoy the soak in the free and natural river onsen. Wearing swimsuits and towels is allowed here.
How Much is a Private Onsen in Japan?
I’m going to write a detailed post about this later because I still need to do some more research. However, so far I have found really cheap private onsen that can be rented for about 1 hour for 1,000円 (about $10 or 8€). Most of them are in less famous hot spring towns, though.
All the private onsen baths near Tokyo or in the top onsen resorts were around 2,000円 (about $19 or 16€) to 4,000円 (about $38 or 32€). The bathing or usage time also varied greatly, some could be rented for only 30 minutes, most were around 45 minutes, and others could be used for 1 hour.
How Much Does it Cost to Stay at an Onsen Ryokan?
Some people will tell you that staying at an Onsen Ryokan is extremely expensive. And yes, it can be really expensive if you choose the famous or traditional ones, or if you are trying to find an onsen ryokan in a city like Kyoto.
But there are also onsen ryokans that offer Japanese-style rooms for about 5,000円 (about $47 or 40€) per person and some of them have really beautiful onsen facilities. I have even found onsen ryokans with private baths for 7,000円 (about $66 or 55€). However, I have to admit that I usually check Japanese websites and I’m afraid that the booking rates on non-Japanese websites will be higher.
Another option you can always consider is Higaeri (日帰り) which means “day trip”. Many onsen ryokan welcome day trippers and let them use their onsen facilities and one of their rooms. Sometimes including a private onsen and a lunch or dinner served in your room. You can find a few examples in my post about romantic onsens for couples.
Oh, and before I forget! Usually, when you stay at an onsen ryokan you have to pay an additional onsen tax of 150円 (about $1 or 1€) for each day. Even if you are not allowed to use the onsen because of tattoos or so you still have to pay the tax.
Once I have finished my research I will write a post just about the costs of staying at an onsen ryokan and link it here. So stay tuned!