Translated by MATCHA_En
Japanese Encyclopedia: Ashiyu (Foot Bath)
Written by Hiromasa Uematsu
Want to visit a hot spring, but not comfortable with bathing in front of others? Why not try an ashiyu instead?
Onsen, or hot springs, are one of the major attractions that bring tourists from around the world to Japan each year. With onsen streets and hot spring facilities located in every corner of Japan, there are some tourists that come back year after year just to try different springs across the country.
One popular type of onsen that doesn't require guests to strip down, is the ashiyu, or foot bath. This is a hot spring tub that only comes up to about mid-calf, that you can soak your feet in. Another variation on this are teyu, or hand baths, that you can soak your hands in.
Although only soaking your feet, the heat from the onsen water will spread through you, warming you up completely. One other benefit of an ashiyu is that, while hot, it is not as strong as a standard hot spring, which means that it is also safe for those that have high blood pressure or other conditions that make long soaks in an onsen potentially dangerous.
Foot baths can be easily found in onsen towns in the entire Japan. Usually, they are located outdoor at the side or the corner of the streets. You can have a chat with others, the locals included, while enjoying the foot bath.
Usually they are free, or, if a fee is required, at most they cost 200-300 yen.