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Foreigner with Japanese tattoos 2010/8/17 23:29
Hi there,

I have hiragana (Bushido / Warrior code) tattooed down my back.

Now I know there are a few debates regarding foreigners entering an onsen with tattoos. Some frown upon it, whereas others don't seem to mind.

So the simple question is, as an Australian with Japanese tattoos and their meaning, am I going to have a problem entering an onsen?
by Taryn (guest)  

... 2010/8/18 08:49
It depends on the size of the tatoo and whether it is visible while you wear clothes. If it is large and visible, then you have a risk of encountering problems entering. If it is large but not visible when you wear clothes, there is a small risk to be asked to leave after you entered. Otherwise, I think the risk of being refused or kicked out is rather low.
by Uji rate this post as useful

... 2010/8/19 05:22
Some Onsen facilities such as Ooedo-Onsen-Monogatari in Odaiba have a rule to not allow persons with tattoo to use the facility. I have also heard that if the tattoo were small enough, the staff could put a bandage over and hide it so he/she could enter the facility. It also can depend on which Onsen you go and who the other customers are. But if your tattoo is visible, you will be refused at most Onsen. Not many Japanese customers with small kids (family) are excited to have a person with tattoo in Onsen with them.
by ... (guest) rate this post as useful

tattoos 2010/8/19 08:10
It doesn't make any difference what the tattoo is of, I'm afraid- if the other customers complain or a staff member catches sight of it, then you would most likely be asked to leave. Japanese-style tattoos are probably the most intimidating to other bathers as they have a yakuza association- the main reason for the ban to begin with.

Some onsens are more tolerant than others, but the "no tattoos" rule is fairly widespread.
by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

Friend just had this experience 2010/8/19 23:27
A very cute, young American with a tatoo on her upper arm was asked to leave a public bath house. She is in Tokyo for an internship and because of her good Japanese language skills may have thought she could explain herself in any situation. Not in this case. I told her to put Salonpas on it next time.
by Tess C (guest) rate this post as useful

? 2010/8/20 02:56
…I don’t think it matters how cute the person with tattoo is and how well he/she speaks Japanese. Unfortunately that cannot make an exception.
by ? (guest) rate this post as useful

Tattoo Problem 2010/8/20 09:26
Thanks folks, I thought that was the case.

I'm going to presume that even covering with bandages won't help.
by Taryn (guest) rate this post as useful

depends 2010/8/20 13:01
What you have is not what would be considered a typical Japanese tattoo.
It depends on the establishment, it depends if anyone complains.

There are many anecdotes of refusal and admission.

I'm not sure where you are travelling, but in rural onsen (particularly in the north of Japan it's less likely to be an issue). I expect in Western Japan it's more likely to be a problem.

If you go at non peak times there might be very few others in the onsen. Also some minshuku / ryokan have onsen / public baths. Again, depends on establishment, but this is likely to be OK - esp. if you bathe outside the peak.
by girltokyo rate this post as useful

Depends 2010/8/20 13:22
Tavelling end of January 2011 to Takayama and Hakone, off peak season. Will be traveling to Kyoto, but not visiting an onset there.
by Taryn (guest) rate this post as useful

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