Onsen are a great way to relax. Rotenburo (outdoor onsen) are also a good way to connect with nature.
Chances are you'll like onsen too. However, these 6 things are minor irritations for some people.
1. Over CrowdingPopular onsen resorts and hotel onsen are often crowded. Nudity is significantly less comfortable in an overcrowded situation.
2. LoudYou might expect onsen to be quiet, introspective places. This is sometimes true. It's also common for people to party at onsen or generally be loud.
3. SplashingBefore getting into an onsen bath you must clean yourself. This usually involves sitting on a tiny bathing stool in close proximity to other bathers. Bathers typically rinse themselves by pouring water over their head and body with a bucket.
It's fairly common to be splashed with soapy water.
4. NudityIf you're not used to being nude in public it may feel strange at first. It's likely you'll feel more shy about being nude in front of your friends and family than strangers.
5. SmellMany onsen have a strong smell owing to sulphur rich water (硫黄泉 iou-sen). This is considered a health benefit by many Japanese people. Different onsen waters are thought to cure health problems ranging from aches and pains to chronic diseases such as diabetes.
6. Small ChairsThe bathing area that you're required to use before entering the onsen has tiny bathing stools. Most Western people aren't accustomed to sitting on such a small chair so low to the ground. This can be a challenge for some people.
Charm or ChallengeOnsen can be a bit of a culture shock for many people. Some people will find these things charming. Others will see it is an annoyance.
Either way, the onsen experience is well worth it.