Gensen Kakenagashi Qualities

Pros and Cons

Japan Gensen Kakenagashi Onsen Association Rules
Rules at Other Onsens
Baths must be drained daily, and cleaned thoroughly before being refilled.
By using filtration and circulation baths are only drained once every 1-2 weeks.
The bath must be constantly overflowing with natural water flowing from the earth.
Daily usage of chlorine to disinfect also destroys most of the natural mineral content of the waters.
The natural mineral content of the waters provides a wide range of health benefits that one can feel.
Due to the mineral content being destroyed by chlorination there is very little benefit to one’s health.
The natural heat helps improve one’s metabolism and provides a wide range of other health benefits. The minerals in the waters have been shown to prevent oxidation within the body achieving an anti-aging effect.
Chlorination can actually increase oxidation within the body. Improper sanitation practices can lead to bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease which in some cases can be fatal.
There are over 15000 ryokan with onsen facilities in Japan however only 20% of those can be classified as kakenagashi onsen.
The remaining 80% of onsens in Japan use circulation, filtration to re-use their water. Furthermore many also use chlorine to extend the usage of their water which can actually have negative health effects (For example it can worsen inflammation for those with atopic dermatitis).

How to bathe

Professor Matsuda is a well-known expert in the field of onsens. Following his advice you can increase the health benefits of your onsen experience!

  1. Hold off the beer once you’ve finished your soak.

    A nice cold beer is exactly what many people would love after a nice bath however you should avoid cold drinks after getting out of the onsen. There’s no point in cooling down the insides of your body and organs with a cold drink right after you’ve just spent all this time trying to warm everything up. You can have a beer when you eat but after getting out of the onsen try to have warm or hot drinks only.

  2. Close your eyes and listen to the mind’s eye.

    The onsen is the place where you can reconnect yourself with your senses. Your vision is the most overused sense. So that’s why the onsen is the perfect time to give your eyes a break by closing them and hone in on your other senses. Listen to the sound of the water flowing into the bath, the sound of the birds, and the trees and wind. Take a moment to enjoy the natural aroma of the water, and feel its touch on your skin.

  3. When you feel hot it’s time to get out.

    An onsen is not the same as a sauna which is designed to make you sweat. When you start to feel sweat on your brow it’s time to get out. Enjoy a foot bath, or only submerge half of your body but make sure to get out and cool down. It’s best to break up your bathing experience into several small soaks like this.

  1. Enjoy a good conversation and let yourself unwind.

    I used to go to the onsen as a sort of cure for heartbreak and stress. I figured if I could warm up my body that the stress, and frustration building up within me would be washed away. By having a light hearted conversation with the people around me, I was able to unwind even more.

  2. Forget about having a shower after

    The minerals in onsen water cover your skin allowing it to maintain heat. Showering after your get out of the bath will remove the mineral coating on your skin along with most of the health benefits. For those with sensitive skin it may be a good idea to have a quick shower though when bathing in very acidic or sulfuric springs.

  3. Leave the shampoo and soap at home.

    The mineral content of onsen water actually removes dirt from your body. When bathing in a kakenagashi onsen take a step out of the bath and pour some water over your head to remove dirt from your face and hair. The departure from your everyday routine will further help you relax and unwind.