Home Food & Travel New Website Answers Question: “What Onsen Can I Go To If I Have Tattoos?”

New Website Answers Question: “What Onsen Can I Go To If I Have Tattoos?”

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Your one-stop shop for “tattoo friendly” bathing in Japan.

As fun and great as visiting Japan can be, it can also be a bit frustrating for anyone with a tattoo. Although attitudes have somewhat loosened up, many in Japan still very much disapprove of tattoos due to their association with organized crime. As a result, it is not at all rare for tattooed individuals to be turned away at the door when trying to visit an onsen (hot springs), a place which, of course, requires guests to bathe nude in front of others, thus leaving tattoos exposed and uncomfortably visible. Thanks to a new website though, tattoo aficionados hoping to enjoy this relaxing aspect of Japanese culture during their next trip to Japan, need no longer worry.

Called Tattoo Friendly, this new website, which is available in both English and Japanese, lists over 600┬áonsen, public bathhouses (sent┼Ź), traditional Japanese inns (ryokan), gyms, pools, and hotels, which accept tattooed patrons. The site even offers visitors information about which establishments require guests to cover their tattoos, what days tattooed patrons are allowed, and whether the establishment also allows Japanese patrons with tattoos, instead of just travelers from abroad.

Additionally, Tattoo Friendly also has access information for its listings and useful information on visiting onsen.

Miho Kawasaki, a writer specializing in tattoos and tattoo culture, former editor-in-chief of the Japanese magazine Tattoo Burst, and the creator of Tattoo Friendly, explained her motivations for starting the website in an article published by Nico Nico News.

“I began the site because I wanted to provide relevant information. It’s especially common for foreign visitors to Japan with tattoos to find out that they can’t make use of the bathing facilities after they’ve already arrived at the onsen or place where they are staying. To come all the way to Japan and find this out at the place you’re trying to enter [onsen, lodging, etc.] is unfair. It’s a trouble that could be avoided if they knew this beforehand. And if they know that there’s other options, then they wouldn’t choose to go all the way to one that they are prohibited from entering.”

In the article Kawasaki also expressed her commitment to continue expanding Tattoo Friendly, explaining that in Japan there are over 3,000 onsen areas and a total of over 20,000 facilities in these areas, each of which have their own unique attributes and features. “I don’t just want to convey which of these places accepts people with tattoos but also what makes each of these places so special and how to enjoy them best.”

With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics rapidly approaching and Japan’s steady increase of tourists from places where tattoos are very common, Tattoo Friendly certainly seems like it will be a useful tour for many visitors to Japan.

Visit the English version of Tattoo Friendly here.

Source: BuzzFeed News (Japan), Nico Nico News
Image: Pixabay

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