Hot Springs, Onsens or Spas? Introduction!
Whatever you call them (and for sake of continuity here we'll call them Hot Springs) Matsumoto got 'em. In fact we've got loads of them. More than you could ever possibly hope to visit - but why not try anyway? Hot Springs in & around Matsumoto can be found in a number of clusters (Asama, Utsugushigara etc) & so have been divided up that way. You'll have to get out a map & see where you can get to, but even if you have limited time/rely on local buses you'll be rewarded with a shiney, healthy skin & a decompressed/semi-detached brain! With planning & your own transport you can really get into the backblocks fairly easily.
Norikura Highland Onsen
The presumption here is that you have already got your towel wet, & know what to expect...you know, the bit about taking your togs off before you get in the pool; that dropping your soap in the tub can get you deported - that kind of thing. If not, have a read through this link and then come back (and do come back - don't be afraid & all "I'm not taking my kit off, thanks" - as taking a soak in an outdoor pool is one of the most rewarding things you're going to do here. And it's addictive!)
OK, now you should be ready! By the way, I've not heard of any foreigners being refused entry anyway locally for a long time. If you do have a bad experience, please let us know. Unfortunately, losing your cool on the spot isn't likely to solve anything. Take your money elsewhere & we'll remove them from this list. Fair? A word about tats as well; as long as you haven't got a design which could be misinterpreted as, say, associated with major organised crime syndicates and a dozen buddies similarly decorated, you should be OK. All ready now? Don't forget to share your reviews, and try not to drop the soap?! :-o