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rch427 (Offline)
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What to wear inside Oedo Onsen? - 04-22-2007, 07:09 PM

I'll be in Tokyo in a few days, and I plan to visit Ooedo Onsen Monogatari ( | Welcome to Ooedo-Onsen-Monogatari | ). There are two different areas there -- the co-ed and the single-sex areas. I know that they furnish you with a yukata and a towel, but surely one can't wear a yukata in a full bath; only in a wading bath. Of course, I couldn't find any photos of people in the full baths (that would be a pretty big no-no), but I'm wondering -- what should one wear? A bathing suit?

Anyone visited Ooedo Onsen?
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04-23-2007, 12:43 AM

I have never been to co-ed onsen before but what Ive seen in TV so far, is that they usually wear towel ( usually white ) wrap around them. Usually they have this for rent or maybe included already. Don't worry, this look like a big and expensive onsen, so most of the ammenities are usually provided.


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04-23-2007, 12:47 AM

-The DO's and DON'Ts of a Mixed Onsen -


Onsens, or hot spring baths / spas, are a fabulous part of Japanese culture that can only be experienced and not described, so I'll only say that Aomori ken has some of the best onsens around. Some are urban and modern, others are rustic and isolated. Some are segregated and others mixed. While seemingly more terrifying than the summer "bathing suit on the beach" season, I guarantee that at some point most of you will find yourself soaking up onsen life buck naked and in the company of members of the opposite sex. Do not panic! There are rules for MIXED onsen conduct and etiquette to guide you. It's usually best to observe how Japanese folks behave and follow their lead. Generally speaking, Japanese folks:


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DO:

Bring an onsen modesty towel. There may seem too tiny to actually be modest but they are essential to cover up those areas that require the most modesty.

Use the modesty towel when walking around the pool area or setting on the side. It isn't necessary to use one when actually sitting in the pool. Put it to the side or fold it and put it on your head. (Trust me, that won't sound or look so ridiculous after you've been here a while.)*

Behave respectfully and maturely. No staring, ogling or "woohooing" fellow onsenners.

Sit quietly and just relax. No splashing, swimming, frolicking, or flashing the other onsenners. There is also no physical contact in an onsen. Public displays of affection are not welcome in Japan as a rule and the onsen is no different.

Use the changing areas provided for removal or putting on of clothing.

Wait ouside communal changing rooms when members of the opposite sex are using them. No changing together.

Approach foreigners to gasp at freckles, ask how far freckles go down, compare breast / genitalia size, ask for photos with foreigner standing only in knee high water, ask what their grandmothers look like... "yes, well" you aren't actually required to do that and it would most assuredly be greatly appreciated if you refrained.

The big DO NOT for all onsens, mixed or otherwise is, of course, never bring any shampoo, soap or other bath products into an onsen. All showering, shampooing and rinsing must be done outside of the hot spring pool.

*please note that women are free to wrap themselves in full size towels which can be worn into the pool and removed or kept on, as you like. I haven't seen many Japanese women in mixed onsens and those I did see tended to favour the biggest towel but either towel size is appropriate. (and despite what you might think, you can find very large towels here, if needed-ed.)

Other considerations just for the uninitiated foreigner:

Don't sit too long your first few times onsenning. Every few minutes, sit to the side. You may not realize the effect the heat from the onsen has on you until it's too late and you've fainted. The water is usually about 35-45 degrees Celsius. Many a JET has succumbed.

Do bring bottled water to re-hydrate. Very useful to prevent fainting as well as to revive you if you should pass out. Don't panic though, it isn't as if JETs are dropping like flies. It's just something to be aware of.

So there you have the basic rules of mixed onsenning. Some JETs may tell you they've seen many Japanese folks breaking these rules and no doubt they have. All cultures have rude people who behave inappropriately. You may also see many foreigners who ignore these rules and that is of course, up to them. We all have different views on what modesty is. However, I ask you to remember that this is Japan, these are their onsens and they are an integral part of daily life for the Japanese. It is their idea of modesty that counts. The presence of foreigners can be unnerving enough but rude and inappropriate behaviour can cause Japanese folks to leave onsens when foreigners arrive or discourage them from even entering the pool. There are some onsens in other kens that have "No Foreigners" policies due to repeated inappropriate behavior. Bad behaviour can also result in unwanted attention and rudeness from Japanese folks who feel that the rules can be broken due to our own lack of manners. This is rare and 95% of the conversations I had with Japanese people, naked in an onsen, have been highly entertaining. However, being foreign will get us enough attention I guarantee. So please, for the sake of everyone who loves an onsen, follow the rules and really experience one of the best parts of life in Japan. Oh yeah, and bring moisturizer. Onsens give new meaning to "wrinkly as a prune"




as found on : The DO's and DON'Ts of a Mixed Onsen
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04-23-2007, 01:32 AM

Thanks for the detailed rules, very much appreciated
but I do have 1 question, im in the process of getting quite a large intrecate sakura tattoo done, do I need to cover it up in certain onsen?


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pandayanyan (Offline)
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04-23-2007, 01:35 AM

I was reading about it and from what I found it isnt a big deal in most onsen the tattoo rule was mostly to prevent Yakuza. If you look like a tourist it said they will probably ignor 1 or 2 tattoos.
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rch427 (Offline)
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04-23-2007, 05:23 AM

Thank you for the link; the information answered my questions very thoroughly!
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05-01-2007, 11:06 AM

I have a tatoo and had no problems in the onsens. If anything it was a talking point amongst the ladies in the onsen and some actually came up and touched it...that was a little freaky. But don't worry they won't throw you out or anything.


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xrayagent (Offline)
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Tats - 05-21-2007, 09:41 PM

There was a more conservative sento near my inlaw's house. They asked me to leave before I got into the locker area, (disclosure: obviously not yakusa), but the next year I just wore pants. The tatoo was noticed once I got in, but I think that they were too polite to say anything while I was starkers.
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