How to Use Hot Spring Baths
Take a Break Upon Arrival at Your Place of Lodging
Your body will probably be more tired than you realize by the time you have arrived at the hot spring resort. Because you are not in your best condition upon arrival at your place of lodging, entering the hot spring baths right away is very dangerous. After checking in, start by taking a break and enjoying some tea and accompanying sweets to rehydrate and re-energize your body.
Drink Water 15 Minutes Before Bathing
Although it is very important to rehydrate yourself after bathing, we also recommend that you strive to attain better blood circulation before entering the baths by drinking ample amounts of water, tea or similar fluid 15 minutes before bathing. Improving improving your blood circulation this way helps the beneficial properties of hot spring water to take effect more efficiently.
Splash Yourself with Hot Water Before Entering the Bath
Splashing yourself with hot water before entering the bath serves two purposes. The first is to cleanse your body, which is common etiquette before entering baths in Japan. The second is to "warm up" your body before bathing: because hot spring water contains many active ingredients, initial contact comes as a bit of shock to your body, and splashing yourself with hot water before entering helps to more gently accustom your body to the water's effects. Bathers should start from the feet and other parts of the body farthest from the heart, using about 10 buckets of water in total. Doing this will make it feel much better when you first enter the bath.
Bathing with Breaks
In order to warm your body to the core, it is more effective to enter the bath three separate times with breaks in between rather than bathing once for a long period of time. In general, bathing periods of 5 minutes, 8 minutes and 3 minutes are recommended, with breaks in between to wash your hair and clean your body. Because hot spring baths themselves have a cleansing effect, you only need to wash your body lightly with your hands during the breaks.
Many guests want to bathe upon arrival as well as at night before going to sleep. In this case, it is best to save the third bath entry until nighttime.