3 Rules You Should Know Before Visiting Hot Springs in Japan

Onsen in Japan
Kusatsu, Gunma, Japan. Photo by Kaede KBYS on Unsplash

Hot springs, or onsen, have a long tradition and history in Japan and they are extremely popular among locals and tourists. There are more than 3,000 onsen resorts spread across this country, and in case you decide to enjoy one of them on your trip to Japan here are a few basic rules you must follow when visiting an onsen.

No Tattoos

One of the first things you should know before going to Japan if you have tattoos on your body is that tattoos are forbidden in Japan because they are still strongly associated with the mafia. Even though you shouldn’t have any problems as a tourist, this, unfortunately, means that you won’t be able to get into most hot springs unless you’re able to cover that tattoo with a bandage.

Wash Before Entering

All visitors are required to visit the shower area and wash their bodies before having a soak in the bath. Hygiene levels are very high in hot springs, which also means that you are not allowed to wear shoes or dip towels or your hair in the water.

You Must Be Naked

There is a small chance that you’ll find a few modern hot springs that allow both tattoos and bathing suits, but the truth is that in most of them, guests are required to be completely naked.