Basic Rules For Visiting Japan’s Onsens

Gero Onsen Gassho Village, Japan
Gero Onsen Gassho Village. Photo by Lucas Calloch on Unsplash

Hot springs, or onsen as they are called in Japan, are an important part of Japanese culture and they have a very long history in this country. Japan is home to more than 3,000 onsen resorts and visiting at least one of them is a must for every tourist visiting this country. However, the onsen is not your typical hot spring or spa, so here are a few important rules you should know before visiting one.

Wash Before Entering

The first thing you want to do is to wash your body thoroughly before entering the baths because this is a must in every onsen in Japan. Every onsen has a shower area where you are required to wash.

You Must Be Naked

There are only a few onsens that will allow bathing suits, but in most of them, you will be required to be completely naked. Also, keep in mind that you are also not allowed to dip a towel or your hair in the water.

No Tattoos

Japan has a complex relationship with tattoos because they are associated with the mafia. That being said, tattoos are strictly forbidden in most onsens, but people with smaller tattoos can cover them with a bandage and should not have trouble getting in.