An onsen is a term for hot springs in the Japanese language, though the term is often used to describe the bathing facilities and inns around the hot springs. As a volcanically active country, Japan has thousands of onsen scattered along its territory. Onsen were traditionally used as public bathing places and today play a central role in directing Japanese domestic tourism.
Onsen come in many types and shapes, including outdoor and indoor baths. Onsen are a central feature of Japanese tourism often found out in the countryside but there are a number of popular establishments still found within major cities. They are a major tourist attraction drawing Japanese couples, families or company groups who want to get away from the hectic life of the city to relax. Japanese often talk of the virtues of "naked communion" for breaking down barriers and getting to know people in the relaxed homey atmosphere of an onsen.
The ideal style of taking a bath would be submerging half of your body into the water at first. The water pressure of the hot springs bath is greater than you think, and if you submerge yourself to your shoulders, then the pressure will be felt on your lungs, making it difficult to breathe and causing you to suddenly feel woozy. The typical number of times for submerging the entire body is 1-2 times with the ideal submersion time being no more than 10 minutes when the water temperature is 42 °Celsius (108 °F) or higher. When the water is a tepid temperature between 37 and 39 °Celsius (100-102 °F), then you should spend no more than 20 minutes in the bath. In either case, it is important not to overdo it. While in the bath, try massaging the central arch of each foot and the middle area of the palm of each hand. This will help your body to relax and maintain a balance in the secretion of hormones.