Sometimes travelers shy away from visiting hot springs and especially mixed-gender onsen when visiting Japan. So I wanted to write a post with detailed information about 18 unisex onsens to help you overcome the mental hurdle and enjoy an amazing and relaxing time with your friend or partner.
Takarawaga Onsen Osenkaku is the best mixed-gender onsen if you want to wear a bathing suit. If you want to do onsen hopping and try out many different hot springs Shin-Hotaka Onsen in Gifu Prefecture and Minakami Hot Spring Village in Gunma Prefecture near Tokyo are your best choices.
These are my top recommendations for hot springs and onsen towns with unisex onsen baths. Below you will find 18 amazing mixed-gender onsens and detailed information about their baths, price, and if or if not you can cover yourself.
1. Takaragawa Onsen Osenkaku (Near Tokyo)
Location: Takaragawa Onsen, Near Minakami Onsen, Gunma Prefecture
Mixed Outdoor Onsen Providing Bathing Suits: Takaragawa Onsen Osenkaku (汪泉閣) is one of the many onsens that make up the popular Minakami Hot Spring Resort in Gunma Prefecture. It is one of the closest mixed-gender hot springs to Tokyo and its huge outdoor baths count as some of the most beautiful in Japan.
The onsen features 3 unisex open-air onsen baths right next to the river. In 2019 they changed their bathing rules and now everyone has to wear a special bathing suit during their soak in the mixed-gender baths. You can’t wear your own bathing suit, instead, you will get a rental one from the onsen that is included in the admission fee. The indoor bathing facilities are gender-separated and ladies can also soak in a smaller women-only outdoor bath.
Access: From the nearest JR Station, Minakami Station, it’s a 30-minute bus ride. Get off at Takaragawa Iriguchi bus stop from where it takes 20 minutes on foot to the onsen. You can get to the onsen in about 3 hours from Tokyo.
Price: 2,000円 (about $18 or 17€)
2. Shin-Hotaka Onsen Yarimikan (Gifu)
Location: Shin-Hotaka Onsen, Okuhida, Gifu Prefecture
Traditional Onsen Ryokan With Mixed Open-Air Baths: Yarimikan (槍見舘) is a hot spring ryokan located in Shin-Hotaka Onsen near Okuhida. This onsen features 2 unisex outdoor baths, 1 women-only open-air bath, 4 private open-air baths, and an Ashiyu. The 2 indoor baths are gender-separated.
Day-trippers can use the outdoor baths from 10:00 – 14:00 o’clock. For an extra fee of 1,000円 (about $9 or 8€) per person, you can also rent one of the private onsen baths for 1 hour. Sometimes due to maintenance bathing might not be possible, so it would be good to contact the onsen ryokan beforehand.
If that should be the case you still have other options in Shin-Hotaka Onsen and Okuhida and two of them you are going to find right down below. Also, please note that the information on the English webpage is slightly different than on the Japanese one mentioning that non-residents can not use private baths.
Access: The 2 nearest stations are Takayama Station in Gifu Prefecture and Matsumoto Station in Nagano Prefecture. From Takayama, it is a 1.5-hour bus ride and from Matsumoto, it is a 3-hour bus ride to the onsen. Nagoya is about 4 hours away.
Price: 500円 (about $5 or 4€)
3. Shin-Hotaka No Yu (Gifu)
Location: Shin-Hotaka Onsen, Okuhida, Gifu Prefecture
Natural & Unisex River Onsen Bath: Shin-Hotaka No Yu (新穂高の湯) is such a cool place! It is a natural river onsen bath located in the same hot spring village as the Shin-Hotaka Onsen Yamano Hotel. In this onsen, you can take a soak and enjoy the surrounding nature from 8:00 – 18:00 o’clock. However, since this is a natural onsen it can’t be used in the winter months (from November until the end of April) and if the river rises too high.
As it is often the case with natural onsen baths in Japan women are allowed to wrap themselves in a towel, but men aren’t. If you come here early in the morning you will most likely have the entire rock bath for yourself.
Access: 1.5-hour bus ride from Takayama in Gifu Prefecture or a 3-hour bus ride from Matsumoto in Nagano Prefecture. The closest bus stop is Nakao Kogenguchi and the Shin-Hotaka Onsen Yarimikan is just a 2-minute walk away.
Price: 300円 (about $3 or 3€)
4. Shin-Hotaka Onsen Yamano Hotel (Gifu)
Location: Shin-Hotaka, Okuhida, Gifu Prefecture
Onsen Hotel With Unisex Outdoor Baths: Shin-Hotaka Onsen Yamano Hotel (新穂高温泉 山のホテル) is another famous onsen hotel located in Okuhida. The onsen hotel has several huge open-air baths overlooking the Kamatagawa River. But it is also a beautiful mountain onsen with views of Mount Yari and Japan’s Northern Alps.
Most of the hot springs baths are mixed but there is also a women-only open-air bath and a private onsen bath that can be rented for an additional fee of 1,000円 (about $9 or 8€) which is quite cheap. However, bathing time is also limited to a maximum of only 30 minutes.
In contrast to the other 2 onsens, this hotel doesn’t open its doors to day-trippers, so you have to stay for one night.
Access: Can be reached in 1.5 hours by bus from Takayama in Gifu Prefecture and in 3 hours by bus from Matsumoto in Nagano Prefecture. Shin-Hotaka Onsen Yarimikan is a 10-minute walk away and the natural river onsen is 7 minutes away.
Stay: From 15,000円 (about $139 or 122€) per night
5. Hotel Kojokaku (Near Tokyo)
Location: Sarugakyo Onsen, Near Minakami, Gunma Prefecture
Mixed Onsen Where You Can Wear “Yuyugi”: Hotel Kojokaku (ホテル湖城閣) is a hot spring hotel with beautiful onsen facilities located in Sarugakyo Onsen which is another one of Minakami’s hot spring villages. The open-air onsen facilities face Akaya Lake and have 8 different rotenburo, 6 of them are mixed-gender baths, and the other 2 are gender-separated baths.
There are a few larger outdoor onsen baths like a 3-meter wide wooden barrel tub and a stone bath that can easily accommodate up to 6 people. The other onsen baths are smaller and sometimes they are just for one person like the extremely hot Goemonburo pot bathtub. If you would like to cover yourself you can buy a special bathing garment called “Yuyugi” for 800円 (about $8 or 7€) which they sell at the hotel.
Access: 27 minutes by bus from Jomo Kogen Station. From Tokyo, you can get to the onsen in about 2.5 hours if you take the Shinkansen. Except for the bus, the fare is covered by the JR Pass.
Price: 1,000円 (about $10 or 8€)
6. Refresh Park Yumura (Hyogo)
Location: Yumura Onsen, in between Tottori & Toyooka, Hyogo Prefecture
Mixed Gender Hot Spring Park Where You Can Wear Swimsuits: Refresh Park Yumura (リフレッシュパークゆむら) is an onsen park with several indoor and outdoor onsen baths as well as a swimming pool. The park is located in the northwest of Hyogo Prefecture near the Sanin Kaigan National Park and Tottori Prefecture.
This hot spring park has gender-separated onsen facilities where you are not allowed to wear swimwear and a mixed-gender onsen area with 5 rotenburo (open-air baths) where you have to wear swimwear. You can either bring and wear your own or get a rental one. The outdoor baths are really nice. One of them has a waterfall, another one is a cave onsen, and sometimes you will also have the opportunity to experience seasonal yuzu baths.
Access: The nearest station is JR Yoka Station on the San-in Line bound for Kinosaki Onsen. At Yoka Station you have to transfer to the bus bound for Yumura Onsen. The bus ride takes about 1.5 hours. Kinosaki Onsen is about 2 hours away, Himeji and Kobe are about 3.5 hours away, and Osaka and Kyoto are about 4.5 hours away. From Osaka, there is also a direct bus to the onsen, though.
Price: 1,100円 (about $11 or 9€)
Website: www.refresh.co.jp/yumura (Japanese only)
7. Anayu (Kumamoto)
Location: Kurokawa Onsen, Kumamoto Prefecture
Tattoo-Friendly & Completely Mixed Gender Onsen: Anayu (黒川温泉 共同浴場 穴湯) is a small one-room mixed-gender onsen bath located in one of Japan’s and Kyushu’s most picturesque onsen towns Kurokawa Onsen. While this particular onsen might not be the most beautiful in the world it is one of the few onsen baths that are entirely unisex. The two tiny indoor onsen pools and even the confined dressing area are unisex. However, there is a small cabin that women can use to change into their birthday suits.
In front of the onsen is a Japanese signboard that says that wearing swimwear or towels in the onsen is not allowed, but they don’t mention tattoos. Since there is no official policy it is safe to assume that this is another one of Japan’s tattoo-friendly onsen.
Oh, and there is no shower area and there are no amenities, by the way…
Hozantei is another mixed-gender onsen in Kurokawa with outdoor baths.
Access: It is a 50-minute bus ride from the nearest station JR Aso Station. You can get to the onsen in about 4 hours from Fukuoka (Hakata Station) and there are also direct busses from Yufuin Onsen Town and Kumamoto city that will bring you to the onsen in 2 or 3 hours.
Price: 100円 (about $1 or 1€)
8. Awanoyu Ryokan (Nagano)
Location: Shirahone Onsen, Nagano Prefecture
Mixed-Gender Onsen Famous For Its Milky White Water: Awanoyu or Awanoyu Ryokan (泡の湯旅館) is located in a small onsen town in Nagano Prefecture with the beautiful and inviting name Shirahone Onsen aka “White Bone Hot Spring”. But just because the hot spring town is renowned for its smooth and milky hot spring water. So no worries!
In general, Awanoyu’s bathing facilities are gender-separated, but the onsen’s most famous outdoor bath with the little waterfalls is mixed. Men have to wear their birthday suits but women are allowed to cover themselves with a towel. From mid-November until April this is also a good place near Tokyo to experience soaking in an onsen surrounded by snow. However, non-staying guests can only take a bath from 10:30 – 14:00 o’clock.
Tabi No Yado’s Shirahone Hot Spring powder is also one of my favorite Japanese bath salts by the way. If you can’t make it to the onsen town you can still take a soak in its milky water waters at home.
Access: The nearest station is Shin-Shimashima Station on the Matsumoto Dentetsu Kamikochi Line. From there a bus will bring you to the onsen resort in about 70 minutes. From Tokyo, you can get to Shirahone in about 4.5 hours but you need to time it well since there are only 3-4 busses per day.
Price: 1,000円 (about $10 or 8€)
9. Yubara Onsen – Sunayu (Okayama)
Location: Yubara Onsen, Maniwa, Okayama Prefecture
Free Mixed River Hot Spring With Rental Bathing Wear: Sunayu (砂湯) is the most famous onsen bath in Okayama Prefecture’s hot spring village Yubara Onsen. The mixed-gender onsen is right in front of the Yubara Dam and next to the Asahi River and one of the best open-air baths in the west of Japan. You can actually soak in this bath for 24 hours and the best thing is it is free!
Women can get rental bathing garments either for free from the ryokan they are staying in or for 2,000円 (about $18 or 17€) from the tourist center. The tourist center closes at 18:00 o’clock, so in case you want to cover yourself, 24-hour bathing might not be possible.
Access: From Chugoku-Katsuyama Station take a bus bound for Hizugenkogen and get off at Yubara Onsen. The bus ride takes 35 minutes. Since Yubara isn’t too far from Okayama and Kurashiki you could include the onsen town as a day trip. The one-way trip takes about 4 hours by train and 3 hours by bus.
Website: www.yubara.com (English available)
10. Gorokaku (Near Tokyo)
Location: Oigami Onsen, Near Minakami, Gunma Prefecture
Mixed Bathing In One of Japan’s Top 100 Outdoor Onsen Baths: Gorokaku (伍楼閣) is a traditional onsen ryokan that welcomes day-trippers from 12:00 – 15:00 o’clock. There are 2 mixed-gender onsen baths called Akagi No Yu and Iwakaga. Akagi No Yu has been selected as one of the most beautiful outdoor baths in Japan. Besides these unisex baths, you will also find a private onsen and 2 large public baths, one with a rose onsen bath. The 2 public baths are gender-separated but in the evening after cleaning the baths are switched and can be used by the other gender.
From the onsen facilities, you have beautiful views of the Katashina Gorge that are special beautiful in autumn when you can see the colorful autumn leaves. The only downside is that day-trippers have a time limit and can only bathe for up to 2 hours. But generally, this is more than enough time for a nice relaxing soak.
Access: A 1-hour bus ride from JR Jomo Kogen Station and then a 17-minute walk to the onsen. From Tokyo, it takes about 2.5 – 3 hours to get here.
Price: 1,000円 (about $10 or 8€) for 2 hours
Website: www.gorokaku.com (Japanese only)
11. Amagiso Liberty Resort (Shizuoka)
Location: Kawazu, Near Shimoda Onsen, Shizuoka Prefecture
Waterfall Onsen Bath Where You Can Wear Swimsuit: Amagiso Liberty Resort (天城荘) is a natural onsen hotel located in the south of the Izu Peninsula, Shizuoka’s nature paradise. The whole peninsula is famous for its hot springs, especially Atami Onsen and the tattoo-friendly Ito Onsen near Tokyo, but also Shimoda Onsen with its beautiful beach onsen.
Amagiso’s onsen facilities are divided into 2 areas, an indoor and an outdoor area. The indoor baths are gender-separated but the outdoor bathing area with the beautiful waterfall next to the open-air bath is mixed. There is also a cave bath but with separate entrances for men and women. Since you have to wear a swimsuit when you are in the outdoor area don’t forget to bring your own. Renting is also possible, though.
The best season to come here is summer because you can see fireflies. But be aware of typhoons, because the waterfall onsen bath might be closed after heavy rain.
Access: 25 minutes by bus from Kawazu Station. Please note that the JR Pass is only valid until Ito Station, so you have to pay 2,000円 for transportation (one way) from Ito Station until the Onsen. From Tokyo, you can get here in 3 hours if you take the Shinkansen until Atami.
Price: 2,000円 (about $18 or 17€)
Website: www.amagisou.jp (Google Translation available)
12. Myogaya Honkan (Near Tokyo)
Location: Nasu-Shiobara Onsen, Near Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture
Onsen Inn With Mixed Gender River Open-Air Baths: Myogaya Honkan (明賀屋本館) is a traditional Japanese inn with secluded onsen facilities located in Tochigi Prefecture. The hot spring is part of Nasu-Shiobara, an amazing onsen town near Tokyo and the perfect onsen destination for outdoor lovers. However, the inn’s onsen facilities are only for staying guests.
Here you can soak in a total of 10 different onsen baths, but in order to get to the secluded mixed-gender onsen baths, as you can see in the picture above, you have to climb down a long staircase which is an adventure in itself. In the morning from 7:00 – 8:00 o’clock, the baths are exclusively for women and there is another open-air bath that is exclusively for women, while the indoor bathing facilities are gender-separated.
There are also 2 private onsen baths that can be rented for 1,000円 (about $9 or 9€) for 45 minutes.
Access: 40 minutes by bus from Nishi-Nasuno Station on the Utsunomiya Line and then a 21-minute walk from the bus stop to the onsen. From Tokyo and Nikko, you can get here in about 3 hours.
Stay: From 10,000円 (about $92 or 85€)
13. Rurikei Onsen (Kyoto)
Location: Near Kyoto & Osaka, Kyoto Prefecture
Mixed Onsen Swimming Pool Where You Wear Swimsuit: Rurikei Onsen (るり渓温泉) is an onsen and family resort. You can often find it as a recommended onsen near Kyoto. However, I personally think that it feels more like a swimming pool than a real onsen except for the outdoor baths and the private onsen baths maybe. Nevertheless, it is a mixed onsen swimming pool that you can enjoy with the whole family.
Access: You need to take 2 different buses. The first one is from Kameoka Station to Undoukouen Terminal (14 minutes) and the second one is from the terminal to Tsuchigahata bus stop from where it is a 32-minute walk to the onsen. From Kyoto, it will take you 2.5 hours or up to 3.5 hours.
Price: 700円 (about $7 or 6€)
Website: www.rurikei.jp/onsen (Japanese only)
14. Oedo Onsen Monogatari Urayasu Mengekyo (Near Tokyo)
Location: Near Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, Chiba Prefecture
Onsen Theme Park With Mixed Gender Area: Oedo Onsen Monogatari Urayasu Mengekyo (大江戸 温泉 物語 浦安万華郷) is a huge onsen theme park about 40 minutes away from Tokyo. It is very similar to the Oedo Onsen Monogatari hot spring park in Odaiba but bigger and with real onsen pools in the mixed-gender bathing area.
Urayasu Mengekyo onsen is divided into two sections. The first one is a gender-separated indoor and outdoor onsen spa where you are in your birthday suit, and the other one is a mixed-gender outdoor area with 11 different onsen pools where everyone has to wear swimwear. It is even okay to take pictures in the mixed-gender area. Something that is usually strictly forbidden in a normal onsen.
Access: Take the Keiyo-Line to Shin-Urayasu Station and continue by bus or on foot. There are free shuttle buses that will bring you to the onsen. Otherwise, it is a 30-minute walk from the station. From Tokyo, it takes about 40 minutes to get to the onsen.
Price: 1,580円 (about $15 or 13€) on weekdays, 1,880円 (about $18 or 15€) on weekends
Website: www.urayasu.ooedoonsen.jp (Japanese only)
15. Tsurunoyu Onsen (Akita)
Location: Nyuto Onsen, Akita Prefecture
Mixed Onsen With Outdoor Bath in the Snow: Tsurnoyu Onsen (鶴の湯温泉) is one of the 7 hot spring inns that you can find in Akita’s famous and secluded hot spring town Nyuto Onsen. The onsen is one of the oldest hot springs in the area and has a history of 400 years. There are 4 baths in total, 2 gender-segregated indoor baths, the famous mixed rotenburo, and a women-only rotenburo.
Day-trippers can bathe from 10:00 – 15:00 o’clock, but on Mondays, only the indoor bath is available since the outdoor bath is cleaned. If you decide to stay for one night at this small onsen town you should get Nyuto Onsen’s Yu Meguri Pass for 1,800円 (about $18 or 18€), so that you can try out all the other hot springs, too.
Access: There are buses from the nearest station Tazawako Station to Nyuto Onsen, but unfortunately the bus doesn’t stop at Tsurunoyu. So it is a 50-minute walk from Tsurunoyu Onsen Iriguchi bus stop and a 40-minute bus ride to the bus stop.
Price: 600円 (about $6 or 5€)
16. Renge Onsen Rotenburo (Niigata)
Location: Mt. Shirouma, Itoigawa, Niigata Prefecture
Unisex Rotenburo Onsen Hopping Tour: Renge Onsen Rotenburo (蓮華温泉露天風呂) is a beautiful hot spring in the Japanese Alps that belongs to the Shirouma-dake Renge Hot Springs Lodge. It is located at an altitude of 1,475 meters and offers beautiful views of Japan’s Nothern Alps.
Here at this onsen, you can experience a complete onsen hopping tour through nature. The easy hiking course is about 40 minutes long and will bring you to 4 different rotenburo. So after every 10 minutes of walking, you can soak in another onsen surrounded by nature. I mean…how cool is that? Of course, all of the onsen baths are mixed-gender.
The onsen lodge is only open from the beginning of March until the end of October and for non-staying guests, the onsen meguri is only open from 10:00 – 16:00 o’clock.
Access: Only from mid-July until mid-October there is a bus service to the onsen. The nearest station, JR Hiraiwa Station, is about 22 kilometers away from the onsen.
Price: 800円 (about $8 or 7€)
Website: www.rengeonsen.main.jp (Japanese only)
17. Yusakasou Onsen Ryokan (Near Tokyo)
Location: Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture
Mixed Gender Onsen For Families: Yusakasou (湯さか荘) is an onsen ryokan located in the famous hot spring resort Hakone. Since it is only 90 minutes away from Tokyo it is a popular destination for a day trip. The onsen has a mixed outdoor bath, gender-separated indoor onsen facilities, and a private hot spring bath. Women are allowed to wear a special bath towel and from 8:00 – 9:00 o’clock the mixed outdoor bath is exclusively for women.
This onsen is also a good choice if you want to spend some romantic time with your partner after your hot spring soak. They have a plan for day-trippers where you can use one of their Japanese-style rooms from 15:00 – 21:00 and get a traditional Japanese Kaiseki dinner served in the room. During the time of your stay, you can use the outdoor onsen as often as you want and you can also use the private onsen for 30 minutes.
Since the alkaline spring that feeds the onsen is extremely gentle on the skin this is also one of my recommended onsen for families with children near Tokyo.
Access: 18-minutes on foot from Hakone-Yumoto Station. From Tokyo, it takes about 1.5 hours. Get on the Shinkansen to Odawara and then transfer to the local Hakone Tonzan Railway.
Stay: From ¥11,000 ($102 or 91€)
Website: www.yusaka.jp (Japanese only)
18. Sukayu Onsen Ryokan (Aomori)
Location: Hakkoda Mountains, near Aomori City, Aomori Prefecture
Large Mixed-gender Onsen With History: No mixed-gender onsen post would be complete without this hot spring: Sukayu Onsen Ryokan (酸ヶ湯温泉旅館). Usually when you see pictures of mixed-gender onsens, especially older ones they are photographs from this onsen bath.
The onsen is famous for its large mixed-gender Senninburo which means “1,000-persons bath” with beautiful wooden architecture. The whole bathing area is one big room with 4 different bathtubs and a hot spring waterfall, but of course, the dressing rooms are gender-separated. From 8:00 – 9:00 and from 20:00 – 21:00 o’clock the bath is exclusively for women.
Sukayu Onsen also has smaller gender-separated indoor baths in another wing of the building called Tamanoyu. Day-trippers can use both baths but only from 7:00 – 17:30 o’clock (Senninburo) and from 9:00 – 17:00 o’clock (Tamanoyu).
Access: The lodge is deep in the mountains and the area sees heavy snowfall but the route is well maintained and there are buses that will bring you from Aomori Station to the onsen. The bus ride takes about 80-minutes.
Price: 1,000円 (about $10 or 8€)
Website: www.sukayu.jp (Japanese only)