Enjoying hot springs and sento bathhouses in Sapporo
A guide to hot springs and sento bathhouses that are perfect for relaxing while traveling or exploring the city
*Updated November 6, 2019
Bathing is an incredibly important part of Japanese culture. In addition to bathing at home, Hokkaido residents love to take day trips to one of the island’s plentiful hot springs and sento bathhouses. In Sapporo, Hokkaido’s main city, there are many bathing facilities to take a warm, relaxing soak, with several hot spring towns nearby for those who don’t mind venturing a little further out. Most hot springs and sento bathhouses are open to both people staying the night and day visitors. Read on to find out the best places in Sapporo to take a relaxing dip after a hard day’s traveling.
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Many of the hot springs in Sapporo City are sodium chloride springs. In addition to leaving the skin feeling soft after bathing, the salt content in the water prevents sweat from evaporating, helping to keep the body warm. When bathing, there are some general rules, for example you can’t wrap yourself in your towel when in the bath or take your smartphone in with you, but some are different for each hot spring, so be sure to check them before getting in.
For more information, check out this guide to hot spring etiquette: TripAdvisor – How to Enjoy Onsen (English page)
Take a day trip or stay overnight! Enjoying hot springs in the city
Even in downtown areas such as Sapporo Station, Odori Park and Susukino, there are plenty of hot springs to visit. Some hotels have spa facilities with ganbanyoku (hot stone spa) and beauty treatments, which are the perfect way to take a load off and treat yourself. Whether you take a day trip or stay the night, you’re sure to have a great time.
Going on a family day out
If you want to take your children to a hot spring but are afraid they might get bored, don’t worry! There are plenty of hot springs that also have a range of other facilities such as swimming pools and restaurants. Why not take a day trip and see for yourself?
Relaxing at a super sento bathhouse
Sento is a Japanese term used to refer to the many public bathhouses in the country that aren’t sourced from natural hot springs. The number of “super sento” bathhouses has increased in recent years, with more baths and a number of facilities that mean you can easily spend the whole day there. With water and events that change depending on the month or day of the week, there’s always something new to enjoy.
Venturing out to Jozankei on the outskirts of Sapporo
About 1 hour by car or by bus from downtown Sapporo, Jozankei hot spring village is popular among the local people and is considered an extension of the city by many. The chloride hot springs of Jozankei are renowned for the way they give the entire body a warm feeling that stays with you even after leaving the bath. The village is also surrounded by abundant nature, providing picturesque views that transform with the seasons while you bathe.