Extract from a post which an Asian gal in her 20s, described her first onsen experience.
I have to note that this is one of the very few onsens in the country that does mixed bathing. Had to end up with such for my first one, didn’t I?
OK, so here is what happened:
Went past mixed bathing pool on way to lockers. Saw many old men sitting on the ledge with nothing but tiny blue towels covering their situations. Went into the women’s only bath first. Only one there. Stripped naked. Brought towel in with me. Washed my body (you’re always supposed to do this before getting into the mineral water). Hopped in. Hot as hell, but felt really good. All of a sudden, three naked Japanese ladies walked in with flips flaps a’flapping and hopped into the pool too. I’m sitting in the bath pretending I’m not embarrassed by them pretending not to look at me, and them pretending like they’re not embarrassed by me pretending not looking at them. Bath water itself is milky bluish white so nothing is seen below the surface. Everyone but me eventually gets out and runs through the back corridor to get into mixed bathing pool. I’m like, what the hell, I only live once, and this is fucking Japan, let’s go balls out (literally). Get out of women’s pool as more nakeys are arriving. Cautiously creep out into mixed pool clinging onto my towel like it’s penicillin. Rocks at the edge of pool entrance positioned to discreetly hide you as you get in and slip out of towel. Men definitely more unabashed than the women. Everyone is 60+ years old. I won’t go into detail about what exactly I saw, but let me just say, the sun was shining on places where it don’t normally shine.
Did I like the experience? Sure. It’s extremely Japanese. This is a country full of contrasts: ancient yet ultra modern. Traditional yet trendy. Reserved yet outlandish. Here were the sweetest smiling old people fumbling over the rocks on their way to the onsen, chattering quietly to themselves and behaving in the most polite manner. Ok, so now here they are again totally uninhibited spread eagle and splashing around in joust wearing nothing but their birthday suit and a tiny little towel. This is just what they do. And they never cease to amaze.
As for the onsen itself, it was spectacular. My god, so beautiful and peaceful, surrounded by mountains, rivers, valleys, and waterfalls and charming little villages. The setting couldn’t have been better. The water was supremely nice and such a gorgeous color too. My skin was visibly steaming the whole way home!