Etiquette for Onsen in Japan
Hi. I’m Yukako who lives in the northern part of Europe, and teaches and tells people about Japanese traditional culture such as tea ceremony, kimono, etc. offline and online.
When travelling in Japan, one of the most attractive activities is “taking a hot spring”! The hot spring is called “onsen” in Japanese. Although more and more people are attracted by onsen, there are some secret etiquettes which you should know to avoid any trouble or disappointment. So, please let me share basic manners for safety and enjoyable onsen experience!
These days more and more have tattoos on their body, but please remember that any tattoos are allowed in onsen! In Japan many people still believe that those who have tattoos are related to Yakuza Japanese mafia. So, most onsen places refuse people who have tattoos to enter onsen in order to avoid trouble. So, if you have any and if ‘s small, you can cover it up with a band-aid.
No towels allowed in the tub.
I guess most people except Japanese are not used to walk around naked in front of other people’s eyes. Don’t be shy in the onsen! You just be proud of your body and walk free! Some small towels are usually provided, so you can cover the half front side with it, but never put these towels in the tub! You can put a towel aside of the tub such as rocks surrounding the tub, but please don’t soak them into the onsen water, otherwise, onsen becomes dirty more quickly.
So, these two points above are general things you had better know for onsen! Otherwise, you just feel relax and enjoy Japanese great onsen!!I also share one graphic which describes onsen manners more precisely for your reference!