Hot spring baths or onsens have long been a part of Japanese culture and history, from being used for healing injuries to relaxation, socialization, and leisure. These onsens can be enjoyed individually or by groups. One kind of onsen is the konyoku, a type of onsen where men and women can mingle and soak in the hot springs together.
The idea of baring all and mingling with someone you know in a bath can be unsettling to some, and even more when it’s strangers and the opposite sex. This is nothing new to someone already familiar with onsen culture. The practice of men and women bathing together has, after all, not been a big deal in ancient times in Japanese history.
Despite this traditional practice, hot spring baths have changed their policies and have allotted time scheduling or separate baths for men and women due to inappropriate behavior among the patrons and the influence and pressure of Western Culture on post-war Japan.
It’s not quite as common now but konyokus can still be found around Japan, just fewer in number than it was before. There are some konyokus scattered in and around Kyoto and here we’ve listed a few that are worth a visit.
Funaoka Onsen is a public bath situated right in Kyoto City, a place famous for its Geisha District in Gion. The onsen has many types of baths, ranging from vintage tiles of walls and wood carvings to denkiburo. Funaoka is considered to have the first electric bath in Japan. It has a low-level current that travels through the hot spring waters that intend to soothe muscles and aches for a unique bathing experience.
- Website: funaokaonsen.net
- Contact: +81754413735
- Address: 82-1 Murasakino Minamifunaokacho, Kita Ward, Kyoto, 603-8225, Japan
Kurama Onsen is where guests can experience natural sulphur hot spring. The inn takes pride in its scenic open-air bath. Considered as the best onsen in the Kyoto Area, the onsen offers various choices. From indoor tubs with all the extras, visitors would want for the more private individuals, to an outdoor bath among nature with a breathtaking view of the countryside.
- Website: kurama-onsen.co.jp
- Contact: +81757412131
- Address: 520 Kuramahonmachi, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 601-1111, Japan
Hanaikada is a traditional Japanese inn located in Arashiyama. It has a number of facilities, ranging from onsens to its restaurant. It features six types of baths, indoor and open-air. While one bath observes a cycled schedule for men and women separately, one of the open-air baths is a mixed onsen.
Guests can also view its garden that displays the vibe of zen. Meals of the inn, like its traditional kaiseki dinner and Asian breakfast, are served in the rooms of the guests. Near the inn are attractions guests can visit. Some of these are the Kinkaku-ji Temple and the Katsura Imperial Villa.
- Website: hanaikada.co.jp
- Email: email@example.com
- Address: 57 Arashiyama Nakaoshitacho, Nishikyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-0004, Japan
Arashiyama Benkei is a traditional Japanese ryokan located along the banks of Katsura River, in western Kyoto. It’s the perfect walking distance from main tourist attractions in Arashiyama, making it a great stay for those who wish to explore the town. Historically, the town of Arashiyama served as a resort for aristocrats and royalty. Today, the scenic place serves as a getaway spot for tourists, both local and international alike, and Arashiyama Benkei welcomes all guests with Japanese hospitality.
Arashiyama Benkei offers a selection of rooms, each with their own charms. Some of which will include their own private onsen, but all of them with a scenic view of either the river or the gardens. The inn also offers reservable baths outside the guest rooms that families and mixed groups can use. These private baths are genderless and LGBTQ+ friendly since it’s closed off. There are also two separate indoor baths for men and women.
- Website: benkei.biz
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Address: Japan, 〒616-8385 Kyoto, Ukyo Ward, Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, ３４
Rurikei Onsen is a hot spring resort ideal for family trips and outings. It is a recommended onsen located in Kyoto. The resort features outdoor hot spring baths and private onsen baths that can be used by guests during their stay. There are multiple onsens that can be enjoyed from mixed baths and an onsen pool, which requires a bathing suit or swimwear when soaking in the water.
- Website: rurikei.jp
- Contact: +81771655001
- Address: Hirotani-1-14 Sonobecho Okawachi, Nantan, Kyoto 622-0065, Japan
Hotel Kitanoya is a traditional Japanese inn. Its rooms are complete in tatami mat flooring and offer sleeping options, whether guests want to lay on a Western mattress or a comfy Japanese futon bed. It has rooms that show off the incredible view of the ocean and private open-air hot spring baths.
The hotel also offers its onsen facilities, which can be used by men and women separately. Onsen baths can also be reserved for private use. After taking a dip, guests can take a stroll in the beautifully landscaped garden and let loose in a massage treatment. Guests can also satisfy their appetites at the restaurant, which features Japanese cuisine. Sites like the Amanohashidate Land Bridge can be visited by guests during their stay at the hotel.
- Website: hotel-kitanoya.jp
- Contact: +81772224126
- Address: 100 Monju, Miyazu, Kyoto 626-0001, Japan
Kaishu is an upscale beachside property situated on a lush hill that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. It is located in Shirahama in Wakayama Prefecture. It features scenic open-air hot spring baths, large communal baths, as well as three types of private open-air baths that the guests can reserve. Kaishu also provides a “Yuamigi” bathing attire. In addition, there is also a spa center available that offers various treatments and massages.Kaishu is an upscale beachside property situated on a lush hill that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. It is located in Shirahama in Wakayama Prefecture. It features scenic open-air hot spring baths, large communal baths, as well as three types of private open-air baths that the guests can reserve. Kaishu also provides a “Yuamigi” bathing attire. In addition, there is also a spa center available that offers various treatments and massages.
- Website: https://www.kaisyu.co.jp/
- Email: email@example.com
- Contact: 0739-82-2220
- Address: 46-4 Aminocho Hamazume, Kyōtango, Kyoto 629-3245, Japan
Onsen Manners and Etiquette
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