I remember the awkward yet exciting feeling of going to an onsen (hot spring) for the first time in Japan. I was with my Japanese friend. We were good friends, but I wasn’t thrilled to have to see her naked and I certainly wasn’t enthused about people seeing me naked. But I swallowed my hesitations and followed my friend’s lead. I did not regret it. Once you get over the initial embarrassment, you realize that, no one cares. Everyone is just there to relax and enjoy an amazing bath. Now I am quite a regular at onsen.
I could talk about the amazingness of onsen all day, but you’re just going to have to trust me when I say you should definitely go because in this article I want to talk specifically about how to enjoy onsen when you have a tattoo.
A lot of tourists are disappointed to learn that many bathhouses and onsen in Japan prohibit entry to the shared baths if you have a tattoo. I personally have two small tattoos and have never had a problem going into an onsen, however, I had a lot of trouble when my sister came to visit me because her not-so-subtle cherry blossom tree tattoo covers most of her back. Tattoos tend to have a negative image in Japan and can frighten some Japanese which is why most public baths prohibit them.
There are some places that do allow tattoos, but these are few, and I am yet to come across one in Miyazaki. But you still have some options. If your tattoo is small enough, some bathhouses will permit entry if you cover your tattoo with a water-proof band-aid or sticker. Alternatively, for a little extra cost, you can hire a private bath.
I have compiled a list of a few onsen in Miyazaki City that you may want to check out if you have a tattoo. This is not an exhaustive list, but hopefully, it gives you a few options. If you do find any other onsen that allows tattoos, please feel free to contact us and we will happily add them to the list!
Onsen that allows covered tattoos:
Aoshima Fisherman’s Beachside Hostel – they sell stickers to cover small tattoos at the reception area
MAP CODE: 843 161 467*06
Gokurakuyu – I am not sure if they have stickers available, but it says on their website that you are permitted into the shared bath if your tattoos are covered.
MAP CODE: 66 291 822*16
Onsen that have a private bath (extra fee incurred):
■Aoshima Grand Hotel
MAP CODE: 843 191 007*57
■Sheraton Grande Ocean Resort (Sea Gaia)
MAP CODE: 66 446 591*04
■Aoshima Cinq Male
MAP CODE: 843 103 833*30