Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Visual Japanese Onsen/Hot Spring Glossary


Japanese Onsen Glossary
Click on the Links to View Pages Related to the Terms.
(More links will be added later.)
  • Ashiyu - 足湯: A shallow bath for soaking the feet and the lower legs. Many onsen towns have these along walking paths.
  • Atsui - 熱い:This word means hot.
  • Bandai - 番台: Many traditional community onsens or sentos have a booth where the employee who takes money and takes care of the premises sits. He or she can look into the changing areas. Many foreigners might feel uncomfortable being observed by the employee in the Bandai.
  • Bodiisoopu - ボディーソープ: This is the katakana spelling and pronunciation for body soap.
  • Dansei - 男性: This word means man or male. Remembering the first kanji is important since it is often shown at the entrance to the bath for men.
  • Datsuijo - 脱衣所: The datsuijo is the room where onsen guests undress and dress before and after bathing. Most datsuijo provide baskets and sometimes lockers, which might have locks or might not.
  • Denkiburo 電気風呂: This type of bath usually makes foreigners feel very uncomfortable at first. An electrical current is sent through the water. It makes muscles contract. Some people love this, but it is not for me. It is said to be effective in healing muscle and nerve pain.
  • Doroyu - 泥湯: A doroyu is a bath in which the bottom has a lot of mud or muddy sediments from elements in the water. Many people apply the mud to the body, let it dry, and then wash it off. Many of the mineral elements are good for the skin.
  • Furo - 風呂: The word simply means bath or bathtub. When Japanese speak with very polite language, they often say ofuro – お風呂
  • Ganbanyoku -岩盤浴: A bathing experience in which heat rises from hot rocks upon which the onsen guests lie upon. Some have herbs in the rooms. 
  • Genkan - 玄関: The genkan is the entrance to an onsen, hotel, or house. Shoes are removed in the genkan. Sometimes shoes are simply left on the floor. Fancy genkans have shelves or lockers for shoes.
  • Gensen kakenagashi源泉かけ流し: A hot spring with pure water. Nothing is added to the water, and the water continuously flows from its underground source. The water is not recirculated.   
  • Geta - 下駄: Geta are traditionally made slippers whose material is wood. When people walk in geta, you can hear a loud sound. Guests in onsen towns often wear these when walking between onsens or to restaurants, etc.
  • Getabako - 下駄箱: Bako means box, and getabaka refers to the boxes, shelves, or lockers where onsen guests leave their shoes before entering. It is customary to walk barefoot or in slippers inside of onsen buildings. Wearing shoes would be considered very rude.
  • Goemonburo - 五右衛門風呂: A goemonburo is a small circular bath that usually only one person can fit into. Hundreds of years ago, criminals were boiled alive in such baths. Goemon is reportedly the name of an infamous thief who suffered this punishment.
  • Higaeri - 日帰り: Hi means day and gaeri means return. A higaeri is one-day trip without an overnight stay. Some ryokan, hotels, minshuku only allow overnight guests to use the baths, but others welcome higaeri guests for limited periods of time. For those on a limited budget, a higaeri trip allows one to experience the baths of a very expensive location for what is usually a reasonable price.
  • Hinoki - : Hinoki is a very aromatic wood that is used in the construction of many wooden baths and sake cups, too. Bathing in a newly constructed bath is akin to aromatherapy. The fragrance is very relaxing. The Japanese cypress tree is the source of hinoki.
  • Hoteru - ホテル: This is the Japanese pronunciation of the English word hotel.
  • Jigoku - 地獄 :This word literally means hell, but jigokus are often places with tremendous amounts of steam, boiling water, and sometimes toxic fumes. These become tourist sites. Usually the heat is too hot for bathing. In fact, a jigoku on Mt. Unzen in Kyushu was used to boil Christians who refused to convert.
  • Josei - 女性: This word means woman, women, or females. The first kanji is often written outside of baths that are reserved for women.
  • Kakeyu - かけ湯: At the front of some entrances to baths, there is a container with warm water. This water is used to rinse the body before entering the bath and also after bathing. A few onsens might have rose petals or citrus fruits floating in the kakeyu.
  • Karan - カラン: This word translates as faucet or spigot.
  • Kashikiriburo - 貸切風呂: Couples, families, or friends who want to bathe together can rent a private bath for a limited time period. Other people cannot enter the bath. Kashikiriburos are becoming more and more popular.
  • Kazokuburo –家族風呂: This is basically the same as kashikiriburo above, but there is more of a feeling of family members bathing together.
  • Konyokuburo - 混浴風呂: These are baths where males and females bathe together. Unlike Kashikiriburo, anyone can enter, so you may end up bathing with strangers of the opposite sex. Konyokuburo have become scarce across Japan due to changes in social morality.
  • Kyuukeijo - 休憩所: A room for resting or waiting for friends after bathing. Some kyuukeijo are also called kyukeishitsu.  Some have TVs, free tea, and vending machines. Many Japanese fall asleep in these rooms.
  • Minshuku - 民宿: These Japanese inns are cheaper that ryokans and are usually much simpler.
  • Mizuburo 水風呂: This a bath filled with cold water. It is usually, but not always, located close to saunas. Apparently heating up, cooling down, and heating up again has various health benefits.
  • Mushiburo - 蒸し風呂: This is a traditional steam room. People lie on the ground and enjoy being heated by steam. Some mushiburo are herbal.
  • Natoriumusen - ナトリウム泉: A type of onsen with sodium chloride in the water.
  • Notenburo - 野天風呂: This is an outdoor bath that might be in the middle of a field. There might not be any buildings. The atmosphere is sometimes more natural, or less refined, than the atmosphere of a rotenburo.
  • Nuruiぬるい:When the water temperature is not hot enough, we say nurui.
  • Onna - : This simple word and kanji means woman. It is often on the curtain outside of the women’s bath.
  • Onsen - 温泉: This word has many meanings. It could refer to a specific bath, a hotel or ryokan with baths, or an area with many baths.
  • Onsen Tamago - 温泉卵、or 温泉たまご: Eggs are cooked in the hot water or the steam. The flavor will vary depending upon the mineral elements.
  • Onsenryouhou - 温泉療法: Medical care that uses the hot water and steam of onsens. See Toji 湯治 below.
  • Otoko - : his simple word and kanji means man. It is often on the curtain outside of the men’s bath.
  • Rinsu - リンス: A Japanese-English word that means hair rinse.
  • Rotenburo - 露天風呂: A bath that is usually exposed to the outside elements.  Some have roofs, others do not. They usually have panoramic vistas or views of gardens.
  • Ryokan - 旅館:These are more expensive Japanese-style inns than minshuku, and ryokans often have fancier baths. Although two meals are usually included per person in the price, some ryokans have various plans and prices. It is possible to just enjoy the facilities and not eat meals at some ryokan.
  • Sakeburo - 酒風呂: A sakeburo is a very unusual onsen. Sake is mixed in with the mineral water.
  • Samui - 寒い: This word refers to cold weather or air temperatures.
  • Sekken - 石鹸、or せっけん: The translation is soap.
  • Senmenki - 洗面器: Many hot springs have small buckets that are used for washing and rinsing the body. These are senmenki.
  • Senshitsu - 泉質: Hot spring water quality. If I like an onsen, I might say, “Senshitsu ga takai.”
  • Sento - 銭湯: A sento is a public bath house. The water is heated with a boiler, and the water lacks specific minerals that are necessary for the facility to be classified as an onsen.
  • Shanpuu - シャンプー :This is the Japanese pronunciation of shampoo.
  • Shiosauna 塩サウナ: This is a very unusual sauna. A large bucket of salt is in the middle. Guests vigorously rub the salt on their skin. Any cuts or scrapes will sting, but afterwards, one’s skin feels amazingly clean, soft, and smooth.
  • Super Sento スーパー銭湯: Super sentos are becoming more popular in large cities. They are huge bath houses. They often have an extensive variety of baths, restaurants, massage rooms, and other amusement facilities.
  • Sunayu - 砂湯: The literal translation is sand bath. Bathers are partially buried in sand. Hot steam flows through the sand and heats their bodies more slowly than immersion into a hot water bath does.  
  • Surippa - スリッパ: The Japanese spelling and pronunciation for the English word slipper. Guests customarily wear slippers in ryokan and minshuku buildings, but in most modern hotels, guests are expected to wear slippers only in their rooms.
  • Taoru - タオル: The Japanese spelling and pronunciation for the English word towel.
  • Tearai - お手洗い: Literally, the word means washing hands, but the meaning is toilet, bathroom, washroom, WC, lavatory, or loo.
  • Toire - トイレ: The Japanese spelling and pronunciation for the English word toilet.
  • Toji – 湯治: Healing with hot spring water. A person might spend many days, possibly months at a hot spring with the intention of healing. A person doing toji is usually under the direction of a medical expert. Bathing, resting, medicine, and nutrition are all considered to be important.
  • Tsumetai - 冷たい: This word is used to discuss cold water temperatures.
  • Utaseyu - 打たせ湯: Hot water pours in a strong stream from above. It falls onto the shoulders, neck, or other sore parts of the body. It is a hot water massage.
  • Yu - 湯、ゆ: This basic word means hot water or bathwater.
  • Yukata - 浴衣、ゆかた: A traditional robe which is usually made of light cotton. Normally it is worn when going to the bath. Many hotels or ryokans provide these in the rooms for guests.
  • Yumeguri - 湯めぐり: Some onsen resort areas provide special passes that allow guests to enter various hot springs. For example, for one thousand yen, a guest has the right to enter three participating springs within the town.
  • Yunohana - 湯の花、ゆのはな: Thick mineral elements that are naturally in hot springs are called yunohana or flowers of the hot water.  The minerals often have medicinal benefits. Some people buy the collected minerals and put them in their baths at home. English speakers might call these bath salts.