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Hakone Onsen Swimsuit Policy 2011/10/29 11:33
I'm new to the area, so my wife is quite worried sitting in a seperated Onsen without swimsuit with other women. Are there any Hotel(Inn) Onsens around the Hakone area that have a Swimsuit Policy?
by Alex (guest)  

Re: Hakone Onsen Swimsuit Policy 2011/10/29 18:23
I am not aware of an "authentic" onsen in Hakone that can be enjoyed in swimsuits. Swimsuits and onsen just don't match. But the Yunessun water park, which requires swimsuits, does have a few pools that feel like hot spring pools:
http://www.yunessun.com/english/

Most foreigners are worried about their first naked onsen experience. And most get used to it during their first visit. Because everybody else is naked too. And the Japanese, too, come in all kind of forms and shapes.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: Hakone Onsen Swimsuit Policy 2011/10/30 09:17
...and even if you can get into one with a swimsuit (or undies), careful of the sulphur smell. My kids went in to the private onsen at Gora in their togs, the sulphur smell wouldnt wash out and we ended up having to toss out the togs.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Hakone Onsen Swimsuit Policy 2011/10/30 10:41
If you like to bathe together(still no swim suits), book a Kashikiri Onsen(time reserved private).
It is usually free or small fee & many are indoor. Or you need to cough up a lot to have a in-room onsen.
by amazinga (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Hakone Onsen Swimsuit Policy 2011/10/30 12:30
It's a bit awkward when you're a 13year foreign female going through pubity and completely self conscience about your body and you say - no you can't wear a swmsuit!

We chose onsens that had private/family onsen so my daughter could wear her swimsuit with no problem.
by Stewy63 rate this post as useful

Re: Hakone Onsen Swimsuit Policy 2011/10/30 12:51
It's a bit awkward when you're a 13year foreign female going through pubity and completely self conscience about your body and you say - no you can't wear a swmsuit!

It shouldn't. It just the same as telling a nudist that he has to wear a swimsuit in a public swimming pool. It's a culture difference.

Nobody is forcing a teenager to go to an onsen. And those who have problems with nudity, but still want to enjoy hot springs, can use private baths.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: Hakone Onsen Swimsuit Policy 2011/10/30 14:50
Stewy63,
Your family wore swim suites in a family onsen bath? Means you and your family didn't wash your bodies?
Onsens don't sanitize like a swimming pool or a hot tub because you are supposed to wash down thoroughly before soaking.
Family onsen means for family with young children that bathe together at home, not with teenagers who I hope you don't bathe together at home and I am sure they don't wear swim suites taking bath.
Please respect the local custom/etiquette & give consideration for others.
by amazinga (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Hakone Onsen Swimsuit Policy 2011/10/30 15:13
No, we 100% bathed both in our Ryokan hotel room and then again in shower area of the private Ryokan onsen, it's just that we wore swimsuits in the private onsen. We paid AUD$1200/night for the privilege.
by Stewy63 rate this post as useful

Re: Hakone Onsen Swimsuit Policy 2011/10/30 15:18
The 'family'/private onsen baths at the Ryokan where we stayed were available to anybody on a first come first serve basis. There were 6 private/family onsen, 2 gender specific onsen and one mixed onsen.
by Stewy63 rate this post as useful

Re: Hakone Onsen Swimsuit Policy 2011/11/2 11:30
It's a bit awkward when you're a 13year foreign female going through pubity and completely self conscience about your body and you say - no you can't wear a swmsuit!

We chose onsens that had private/family onsen so my daughter could wear her swimsuit with no problem.


While I'm not too strict about onsen etiquette, I do not think its appropriate to advise people to use the private/family baths to openly flaunt the rules. Just because there is no one else there to see you doesn't mean the rules don't apply.

The proper thing to do in this case would have been to reserve the private bath and allow your daughter to bathe alone if she is uncomfortable being naked in front of other people.

No, we 100% bathed both in our Ryokan hotel room and then again in shower area of the private Ryokan onsen, it's just that we wore swimsuits in the private onsen. We paid AUD$1200/night for the privilege.

I see. So you paid the ryokan an extra $1200 a night for permission to wear swimsuits in the baths. In that case I guess it would be ok, as long as they were aware.

Consider for your future trips that there are some places that allow, and even require bathers to cover up in the baths (especially when mixed bathing), and I'd suggest you seek these out if people in your party are uncomfortable being naked. They could save you some money.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Hakone Onsen Swimsuit Policy 2011/11/2 21:39
I am going to Kyoto from 15th nov - can you tell me if any of the onsen who allow swimsuits are in or near Kyoto as stated by last post. Thanks
by Jennifer (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Hakone Onsen Swimsuit Policy 2011/11/2 22:12
- I am going to Kyoto from 15th nov - can you tell me if any of the onsen who allow swimsuits are in or near Kyoto as stated by last post. Thanks -

Kurama Onsen is probably the closest onsen to Kyoto. http://www.kurama-onsen.co.jp/index_e.html

However, like nearly all onsen in Japan, apart from a towel to cover your exciting bits, naked is the only way to go, baby.

Despite my privately held opinions as to the ridiculousness of the issue, I know that for those unaccustomed to the thought, public (even same sex) nakedness is a daunting prospect but please remember that this is the culture in Japan. If you want to experience the truly delightful joys of luxuriating in an onsen, cast aside your embarrassment and jump in. If, ultimately, your shame over your naked body outweighs the benefits of a soak in the onsen... stay within your comfort zone and avoid the onsen... or do as Uji suggests and go somewhere ultra touristy and crowded like Yunessun where you can wear a swimsuit.

I remember a trip to the wilds of Toyama and soaking alone in the male rotenburo at an onsen one afternoon when suddenly 2 middle aged ladies came in to join me, saying that they had found the temperature in the ladies' bath too hot. They were wrapped in towels as they entered but slipped those off once under the water. They were utterly unperturbed by being naked in front of a younger foreign man, probably because they knew that under the water everything gets blurry anyway. Sure, I probably gave 'em a bit of an eyeful when I slipped out of the bath later but they were kind enough to avert their eyes at the appropriate moment.

Of course, this story has nothing to do with your problem but hey, I felt like sharing...

To summarize then... stripping off and slipping into the blissfully hot water is the most delightfully relaxing and liberating thing. Enjoy it with abandon!
by Hadakanbo Bob (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Hakone Onsen Swimsuit Policy 2011/11/4 12:49
Basically, it comes down to this: Do you want to go to an onsen or not?

If you want to go, then you need to follow the rules by removing your clothes, bathing, and soaking.

If you do not like the rules or do not want to follow them, then you do not want to go to an onsen. Bathing suits in an onsen is more than just strange; I think it's kind of gross for Japanese and people will certainly feel that you are dirty regardless of what you say or when you bathed.

I understand that 13 year old Westerners are embarassed, but you don't HAVE TO go to an onsen, so if she doesn't want to go, then don't go or leave her at the hotel and go yourselves if you are willing to follow the rules.
by Rabbityama rate this post as useful

Re: Hakone Onsen Swimsuit Policy 2011/11/4 13:06
a few tips for the shy...

1. I find the onsens pretty empty early in the morning (say before 7ish) and mid-afternoon. They get busier before and after dinner. It is good to get used to them when they arent busy;
2. a lot of the time the water is tea dark or milky, i.e. you are pretty much covered up once you are in.

Once you get used to it, it wont bother you at all, in fact I really enjoy the scrub down process, I'm never as clean as I am staying at an onsen hotel.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Hakone Onsen Swimsuit Policy 2011/11/7 17:56
I am going to Kyoto from 15th nov - can you tell me if any of the onsen who allow swimsuits are in or near Kyoto as stated by last post.

Onsen that allow swimsuits are far and few between. What I meant by covering up is that some mixed onsen require women to wrap themselves in a towel when entering the bath, or have special bathing garments that are to be worn in mixed baths. I can't think of any near Kyoto though. Where else will you be visiting?

Also, I didn't mean to imply in my earlier post that those who don't feel comfortable bathing with strangers should either suck it up or give up on onsen entirely. Rather, they have the additional option of renting a private bath and using it solo. That way they can get the onsen experience without the risk of embarrassment. Of course, they won't be able to bathe with family/friends, but that is a small concession that they'll have to make if they want the onsen experience.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Hakone Onsen Swimsuit Policy 2011/11/8 07:52
I have to say, if you're going to an Onsen and not experiencing it properly, what's the point of going? There's nothing worse than a tourist who wants to "experience foreign cultures" and then manipulates them so that they fit in with their own value system. Very sad.
by Hmm (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Hakone Onsen Swimsuit Policy 2011/11/8 11:29
I'd have to agree, however taking in a solo bath in a private onsen would properly fulfill the experience, while adhering to both the local custom and your own comfort level. You do miss out on the best baths though, as the private baths are usually not as nice or scenic as the public ones.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Hakone Onsen Swimsuit Policy 2011/11/11 07:45
What a drama! Please show a little more respect to one another. If someone feels ashamed by showing your private parts with strangers please let them be. Otherwise, if this are the customs of the Japanese wich you are visiting please respect these and avoid those places if you are moraly against is and respect the rules. Otherwise if there are possibilities like private rotenburo or even some wich require swimsuit policy what is the problem with asking? Is that a sin? Respect works both ways.
by Mike02 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Hakone Onsen Swimsuit Policy 2011/11/11 13:57
Honestly speaking, who cares the damn about how anyone else's body looks like, even if s/he's a foreigner, at onsen? Onsen is a place to wash your body and relax. It's not a place to take interest in other person's body.

That'll be a comment from a Japanese local. People don't stare at anyone else's body and that's an onsen manner. Many people shouldn't even recognize you if you never spoke in English.

Just cover your underparts as a manner not to disturb other person's sight.
by Shy? (guest) rate this post as useful

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