Anyone who has ever visited Japan (or even those who haven’t!) will probably know that onsen,  or hot spring, is a very significant part of Japanese culture. Japan has many naturally occurring hot springs thanks to the rich volcanic activity that runs through the country, and going to an onsen is such a major part of everyday Japanese life.

Credit: Giphy

Given the importance of onsen culture in Japan, it’s only natural that travellers to Japan would want to experience it for themselves when they visit! For Muslim travellers, however, it may sometimes be a bit more difficult, given that Japan has some strict etiquette for visiting and enjoying onsen that may be unsuitable for Muslim visitors. For example, onsen tend to be communal spaces (segregated by gender) and usually require visitors to be naked (yes, completely!) while using it.

But we have some great news – there is a hotel in Mount Gassan, Yamagata (about three hours by train Tokyo) that now offers private onsen facilities for you to enjoy! But that’s not all: the hotel also offers Muslim-friendly meals if you book with them in advance 😍

Credit: 変若水の湯 つたや on Facebook

The hotel is called Ochimizu No Yu Tsutaya and is located within the Mount Gassan area (from Yamagata Station, it is a 50-minute journey by bus). The hotel has 20 rooms available for visitors, with guests having free access to the hotel’s onsen, though you also have to option to visit just the onsen without staying overnight for a fee, and only during select time periods. While there are public baths available, the hotel also offers two private onsen rooms that you can use for just yourself!

Credit: 変若水の湯 つたや on Facebook

If you choose to stay at the hotel, you can further elevate your experience by choosing to stay in one of the hotel’s traditional-style tatami rooms! But don’t worry, they also have more conventional rooms with regular beds if sleeping on the floor isn’t your thing 😝 Staying at the hotel comes with meals (breakfast and dinner) provided, plus they also supply amenities like free Wi-Fi, yukata (casual cotton kimono), fridge and kettle.

Credit: 変若水の湯 つたや on Facebook

Based on our checks with management, they can prepare Muslim-friendly meals (featuring primarily locally grown vegetables and fish), which excludes Japanese condiments used in cooking that contain alcohol such as mirin or sake. You’ll need to book with the hotel in advance and they would be happy to cater to your needs. Please however note that alcoholic beverages are served here – we recommend that you dine at your own discretion.

[P.S. It’s worth noting that we communicated with the daughter of the family that runs the hotel who is friendly and proficient in English, so it’ll be easy for you to communicate and make arrangements) 😊

Credit: 変若水の湯 つたや on Facebook

With a chance to experience an authentic onsen in a traditional Japanese setting within a beautiful natural backdrop of Mount Gassan, who would be able to resist? It’s time to go forth and try this amazing local experience!

Price per night for the hotel: From 14,000 yen onwards. Muslim-friendly meals available – please book in advance. We note that alcoholic beverages are available at the hotel and recommend that you dine at your own discretion.
Address:
10, Nishikawa-chou Shizu, Nishimurayama-gun, Yamagata-ken, 990-0734, Japan
Contact no: 81-237-75-2222
Email:
tsutaya@e.jan.ne.jp
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P.S. For more accommodations in Japan that offer private onsen check out this article!

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