Precautions

Tattoo

According to a research performed by Japan Tourism Agency in 2015 (*1), about 56% of onsens reject the entry of people who have tattoos. These days, this is not always the case, and foreign visitors can be an exception. However, if you have tattoos, please make sure to ask in advance. 

If you have tattoos, see the Tattoo Friendly Onsens page in our website. The onsens listed in this page are tattoo-friendly. Also, at the bottom of each article, you can find tags related to the article. The "Tattoo Friendly" tag indicates that the onsen is tattoo-friendly. We hope our website can help everyone find and enjoy onsens in Japan.

*1: http://www.mlit.go.jp/kankocho/topics05_000160.html (Japanese)


Things to Bring

  1. Hand towel (required)
    You must bring a hand towel with you into the bathroom so that you can wipe yourself off before entering the dressing room after bathing.
  2. Shampoo (optional)
    If you need a shampoo, bring it into the bathroom.
  3. Soap (optional)
    Same as above.
  4. Small plastic pouch (recommended)
    Put your valuables (passport, wallet, phone, etc.) in the pouch and keep it with you while bathing, you can place it on the edge of the bathtub within your reach. Basically, you have to keep your valuables by yourself.

Steps

Here are the basic steps to take a Japanese bath. The steps may change depending on the facilities of an onsen.

  1. Prepare and take your bath kit (see the "Things to Bring" section).
  2. Generally there are two entrances. One is for Men (男湯 in Japanese) and the other is for Women (女湯 in Japanese). Go to the appropriate entrance.
  3. Go to the dressing room and get naked. If lockers are available, you can use one to keep your valuables.
  4. Go into the bathroom. Make sure to bring your hand towel.
  5. With a bucket, scoop some water from the bathtub and pour it over yourself to rinse off the surface dirt. Continue scooping and pouring to make sure to rinse your private parts and feet.
  6. Ease in to the bath and sit quietly. You can place your towel on your head while in the water.
  7. Soak in the bath until your body is heated thoroughly, and get out carefully.
  8. With a soap, scrub yourself until you get clean. And shampoo your hair if you want.
  9. Rinse all the soap and shampoo off using a shower (or with the water from the bath).
  10. Ease back into the bathtub and soak in the bath as long as you like.
  11. Feel your body relax deeply.
  12. After bathing, make sure to wipe yourself off before entering the dressing room.
  13. Put on your clothes in the dressing room. When you leave, make sure to confirm your valuables.
 Conventionally, the blue curtain indicates Men's bath (男湯) and the red curtain indicates Women's bath (女湯)

Conventionally, the blue curtain indicates Men's bath (男湯) and the red curtain indicates Women's bath (女湯)

References:
Leonard Koren, Suehiro Maruo, "How to Take a Japanese Bath", Stone Bridge Press, 2006


Manners

Bathing experience in Japan may be different from that in you country, please make sure to follow the Japanese manners when you take a Japanese bath. If you don't follow, that would cause a disagreement with other bathers.

  1. Do NOT get in the bathroom with your clothes or swimsuit on
  2. Do NOT talk in loud voice in the bathroom
  3. Do NOT run, swim or dive in the bathroom
  4. Do NOT put your head in the water
  5. Make sure to rinse off the soap from your body before soaking in the bath
  6. If you have long hair, tie it up while bathing so it does not get in the water
  7. Do NOT soap your body or hair in the bathtub
  8. Do NOT shave yourself in the bathtub
  9. Do NOT soak or wring out your towel in the bathtub
  10. Do NOT wash your clothes or underwear in the bathroom
  11. Do NOT add cold/hot water to adjust the bath temperature without the permission
  12. When washing, be careful not to hit anyone with the spray from your shower
  13. After using bucket or stool in the bathroom, put it back to the original position
  14. Do NOT hog the small baths and be considerate to others
  15. Make sure to wipe yourself off before entering the dressing room after bathing