Onsen and tattoo rules

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Wendy Norris Female Australia 2019/07/23


my friend and I (both females) will be travelling to Japan for our 50th birthday celebrations and spending 3 nights in Nagano (approximately 6-9 December 2019). We would very much like to have a full Onsen experience (including accommodations and meals). I have received information (and searched the Internet) that tattoos are banned in many Onsens (my friend has one over her shoulder and arm). I was wondering if you can give me some direct information on this and then let me know which Onsens will be available to us during our stay in Nagano.

thanking you in advance for any advice and assist you are able to provide.

 Kind Regards


Nagano Prefecture Tourism PR character “Arukuma” 2019/07/23

Hi Wendy,

Tattoos in onsen is a difficult topic, as many facilities that would accept tattooed people won’t come out and say it directly.

One way to avoid the problem altogether would be to go to an hot spring hotel/ryokan that has a family/reserved bath. Many places offer these types of bathes for free for a 30- to 60-minute dip, and since there’s no other people in the bath, it doesn’t matter whether or not you have tattoos. I’ve included some hotels with private baths below:

Yudanaka Seifuso (Yamanouchi)
Shibu Onsen Kokuya (Yamanouchi)
Kamesei Ryokan (Togura Kamiyamada Onsen)
Onsen Ryokan Jonnobi (Nozawa Onsen)
Hotel Hanaya (Hirugami Onsen)

There is also a tattoo-friendly onsen website that tracks such facilities, so you can also check their list of Nagano-based hot springs.

I hope that helps answer your question. Let me know if I can help with anything else.


Guest 2019/07/26

thank you for the information

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