I had no chance of taking pictures because of many reasons, most notably for privacy conflicts. But having experience this onsen myself, I can still provide a useful guide to get you smooth sailing towards that much needed relaxation. Here’s my guide to Arashiyama Fufunoyu Onsen. This is also helpful on how to use onsens in general too!
Address: Japan, 〒616-0001 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Nishikyō-ku, Arashiyama Kamikawarachō, １
Provided is an outline of the entire onsen from the company’s website, please refer this outline for all the general and specific locations provided below!
After you have removed your shoes, the staff will guide you to the storage lockers, simply find an available locker (available ones have a key), and store all of your items that you have brought. This includes, backpacks, shoes, hats, eyewear, etc. This may sound silly but keep your clothes on! There’s another place for that. Also keep your wallet and cash with you to purchase a ticket.
When you have stored your items, head to the ticket machine and purchase your items. There are several types of items you can buy, but the main ones that you’ll need are towels. They are required to use the onsen. There are two sized towels, I went with the larger towel. Once you get your ticket, you can head to the front desk.
At the front desk you can exchange your ticket for a towel, and also your storage locker key will be exchanged here for a dressing room key. This key is used for the dressing room lockers within the onsen. Once you’ve got your towel and key, now it’s time to head to the next location!
Before you enter the onsen, you must be squeaky clean using the provided showers! The showers have a showerhead for that traditional shower experience or a faucet for a bucket that you can dump gallons of water on your head to clean that dirt from your adventures with the provided soap and shampoo. When you are sparkly clean it is now time to relax!
There are 3 hot springs that you can use, 2 indoor ones and 1 outdoor. The indoor ones are great for when the weather isn’t good such as snow and rain. But I prefer the outdoor one since the spring has therapeutic chemicals added. Also note that between the 2 indoor hot springs, the smaller one will be significantly hotter than the larger spring.
Once you’ve decided that the water is too hot to handle, go ahead and head back to the dressing room and collect your things, there should be additional towels to dry you off. The room also provides Q-tips (or cotton swabs) to clean your ears, along with a handy hair dryer to dry off your awesome hair. As an added bonus, there is a water fountain nearby to quench your thirst from sweating off in the hot spring, be sure to re-hydrate. Once you’re dressed up, you can toss the onsen towel in a basket near the exit.
It’s important to re-hydrate more at this time because even though you’ve been sitting in hot water, sweating does occur, and dehydration is very common. Near the rest area is a vending machine to buy drinks and some snacks and candy. I heard it was a tradition to drink milk after using the onsen, and boy I could understand why people do it, it’s refreshing to say the least, but I really like that cultural aspect of it, so I encourage you to try it out too! (If you’re lactose intolerant, I understand)
End Notes and a Few Tips
• If you’re a guy like me, the towel is an excellent censor bar to use when walking around if it's still awkward
• The hottest hot spring is very hot! Take your time or just stick your feet in instead
• The cold bath is COLD, like goosebumps COLD
• Don’t attempt to drink the onsen water…not recommended (it was accidental)
• There is also a large bucket full of cool water near the showers to cool off the body if needed.
• I highly suggest visiting an onsen at the end of the day from all the walking you’ve done! It really helps with muscle cramps, tightness, soreness, and general pain you accumulated from all that walking, and a great way to end the day.
• There’s also a sphygmomanometer near the onsen entrance, just in case you’re wondering what this is, it’s the machine to measure your blood pressure
• When you leave, be sure to put on your shoes after you’ve stepped off the mat, not when you’re leaving the storage locker area!
Now that you’re fully rejuvenated, you can continue on with your journey through Kyoto (or wherever you’re located)! Simply return the dressing room key back to the front desk and get your storage locker key to get the rest of your things. There you have it! Now you’re pro enough to walk in that onsen with absolute confidence that you know what you’re doing!
Cover photo shows the outdoor hot spring. Source: asahip.jp