Japanese Onsen Manners and Tips
In Japan, there are a lot of public baths even in a busy city like Tokyo. A public bath is called “銭湯 Sentou” whereas a hot spring bath is called “温泉 Onsen”. You can enjoy an onsen bath in a “旅館 Ryokan” (a Japanese guest house) or hot spring districts. When going to an onsen or a sentou, there are rules that need to be followed. Here are ten Japanese onsen manners and tips.
#3. Wash your body first before going into the bathtub.
The washing space is called “洗い場 Araiba”. There are showers and taps and you have to grab a washbowl “洗面器 Senmenki” and a small chair at the corner of the araiba. Before jumping into the bathtub, you have to lightly wash your lower body. After that, you can get into the bathtub and soak your body for a while. Then, get out of the bathtub and scrub your body carefully.
#4. Watch others when washing.
When taking a shower, pay attention to the people around you to avoid splashing water on them. Also, do not let the rinse water go the person next to you.
Tips for Visitors with Tattoos
People with tattoos are often declined from using an onsen. There are three solutions to this:
- Use a tattoo cover sticker. Some places allow people with tattoos to have a bath if they cover their them. You can purchase the sticker in advance.
- Choose a ryokan with a private onsen bathtub which is called “貸切風呂 Kashikiri-buro”. This is a separated bath from the main onsen baths. It usually requires a booking and the guests who might be a couple, family or friends can enjoy their private bathtub for 1 hour or so.
- Book the ryokan which has the room with open-air bath “露天風呂付き客室 Roten-buro tsuki kyakushitsu”. You can enjoy private roten-buro as much as you want during your stay.
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