TOP 5 Tattoo Spots in Japan
It is no surprise that the policy of many Japanese hotels, hot springs, swimming pools and beaches have on tattoos can be a barrier and disappointment for many.
But this is due to the relationship between Japanese society and the Mafia, the Yakuza, which were identified by tattoos, and although the mafia’s performance has lost strength, much of Japanese society still associates the body art with the criminal organization. These are swimming pools, saunas, onsens (hot springs), bath-houses(sento), and even beaches that prohibit entry of tattooed people, not say all the companies that do not accept tattooed individuals in their staff.
But that really doesn’t mean there are no alternatives for you, if you have tattoos, many facilities are actually completely ok about it.
So we’ve separated for you some hot springs and bath places that allow people with tattoos, so that way, you can have the best experience when enjoying the Japanese bathing culture.
1. Tsuru no Yu [Tokyo]
This is a local (bath) place that is frequented by many locals. On the wall of the establishment, a huge mural with an illustration of the sacred mountain of Japan, Mt. Fuji. It is an old spot, but very nice and clean. This is one of the sento that you should definitely visit while in Tokyo.
WEB: http://taito1010.com/component/mtree/sento-list/tsuru_asakusa.html?Itemid=112(Japanese only)
Address: 7-4-16 Kita-Koiwa, Edogawa-ku, Tokyo
2. Hottarakashi no Onsen [Yamanashi]
The outdoor bath is in a stunning place from where you can see Mt. Fuji. You can bathe there from 5 in the morning around March, and see the brilliant beauty of Mt. Fuji while the sun rises. This is a gentle onsen that does not irritate the skin, so many people with sensitive skin can enjoy this bath without hesitation.
WEB: http://www.hottarakashi-onsen.com/(Japanese only)
Address: 1669-18 Yatsubo, Yamanashi
3. Yamato no Yu [Chiba]
This facility is surrounded by the quiet Japanese countryside. Since it is a bit far from the city, you can spend some time here away from the loud sounds and intense rhythm of the big city. On the floor of the sauna, there is a hot tiled bed to lie down called Radiant Bath, which is said to be great for your health and beauty, so we definitely recommend you try it!
WEB: http://www.yamatonoyu.com/eng/(JP and EN)
Address: 1630 Odake, Narita-shi, Chiba
4. Sekizenkan [Gunma]
Sekizenkan is the oldest thermal spa inn made of Japanese wood. This building is full of history and the atmosphere will make you feel like you are traveling through time. It is famous for being one of the buildings that was used as inspiration for the famous Ghibli movie, Spirited Away, so many Ghibli fans visit this guesthouse.
WEB: http://www.sekizenkan.co.jp/lang/en.html(JP, EN and others)
Address: 4236 Shima, Nakanojo-machi, Agatsuma-gun, Gunma
5. Yawaragi no Sato Hoheikyo Onsen [Hokkaido]
The amazing thing about this facility is that the water is brought from the underground, so people have access to very fresh water, without it needing to be cooled or heated. The outdoor bath is surrounded by mountains so you can enjoy the changes of the natural scenery all year round. There is also a nearby restaurant famous for its Indian curry, so give it a try whenever you are there.
WEB: http://www.hoheikyo.co.jp(JP and EN)
Address: 608-2 Jozankei, Minami-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido
On a last note, for those dealing with the “tattoo acceptance issue”, there is a called Tattoo Spot(http://tattoo-spot.jp/), which features many bathing facilities and tells you where tattoos are accepted. There are over 900 listings, all from user sources and updated regularly.
You can search by region or by type of installation your looking for. There are lists for onsen (hot springs), saunas, sento, swimming pools, tanning salons, gyms and hotels. While the site is only in Japanese, non-speakers can use a browser translation tool and get a quite accurate translation.
The places are classified as hotels, a star goes for does that do not accept tattoos; Two stars is where they warn you that you can not enter, even though sometimes inked people do get in; Three stars means that tattooed people are allowed as long as they cover the tattoo; Four stars is a”case-by-case,” and the full five stars are rewarded for places where they do not care if you have a tattoo or not. Make your decision and your all set! Just go and enjoy!