Written by Hilary Keyes
Tattoo Friendly Public Baths And Hot Springs In Tokyo
Seeing "No Tattoos Allowed" signs can get downright depressing if you are inked and have come all the way to Japan to sightsee - but here are five great public baths and hot springs in Tokyo that not only welcome tourists, but tattooed ones at that!
With stories in the news about tattoo-bans, huge No Tattoos Allowed stickers on advertisements for water parks and public beaches, and other practices making news abroad and on social media, many tattoo-bearing tourists might be very hesitant about traveling to Japan.
It's not much fun to visit a country famous for its hot springs when there is a good chance that you're banned from even setting foot inside the premises, is it?
Well, you're in luck - there are plenty of tattoo-friendly places to choose from, if you know where to look. What's more, the number of tattoo-friendly hot springs, pools, and gyms is on the increase, thanks in part to the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
If you or someone you know with tattoos is going to be staying in the Tokyo area, then here are some public bath houses, with hot springs, that you can safely and freely enjoy with your ink on display.
To learn more about bath culture in Japan ahead of your visit, check out Bath Culture In Japan: What Every Visitor Should Know Ahead Of Time and 10 Manners You Must Know To Properly Enjoy Sento (Public Baths).
Established in 1950 and fully renovated in 2014, Daikokuyu is located just a ten minute walk from Tokyo Skytree. During its renovations, a brand new open air bath, new sports and relaxation wooden deck, and a concentrated carbonated spring were added to this already incredible public bathhouse.
Conveniently located and popular with both locals and tourists alike, Daikokuyu is a great public bathhouse for those looking to take a quick break while sightseeing, or as a way of capping off a night out in Tokyo's historic downtown area.
Their official website is available in Japanese, English, and French, so this spring has become quite popular with international visitors as well.
Just a two minute walk from the A3 Exit of Nakanobu Station on the Toei Asakusa Line will bring you to Matsunoyu.
A retro chic public bathhouse that all the amenities of a bathhouse should, Matsunoyu also has a private open air bath that is protected from outside view, and helpful guides in multiple languages too. This is the ideal bath to visit if you want a retro experience, without having to worry about bringing too many of your own supplies with you.
A 20 minute walk from Tokyo Skytree will bring you to Mikokuyu, a full bathhouse building that was fully renovated in 2015. Not only is this facility tattoo-friendly, but also barrier-free, meaning that those with physical limitations can easily enter and enjoy the baths as well.
Mikokuyu has its lobby on the first floor, with the baths located on the fourth and fifth floors. The baths are separated by gender, and which baths are located on which floors changes from week to week, so you can sample both styles of bath available here if you come one week and then the next.
One of the greatest appeals of the open air baths on the fifth floor is the great view of Skytree, while their weekly changing concept baths draw numerous repeat customers all year long.
4. Sukeroku No Yado Sadachiyo
Known for its lovely willow trees, Sukeroku No Yado Sadachiyo is a charming ryokan inn found just a ten minute walk from the Tokyo Metro Asakusa Station that is sure to catch your eye.
The exterior and interior of this inn will have you feeling as though you've suddenly entered a rural hot spring town, thanks to the white walls, tiled roof, paper lanterns, and of course, the rickshaw out front.
What really helps set this inn apart though, are its two baths. Here you can see the sakuragayu, a bath entirely made from fragrant hinoki cypress wood. Hinoki cypress is a luxurious wood, and one that is generally only found in the most high end of hot springs. This inn and its baths are also tattoo-friendly, so guests with tattoos here need not worry about missing out on this gorgeous bath.
Bonus - a Tattoo-friendly Hot Spring and Ryokan Inn in Hakone
Located roughly an hour and a half from Shinjuku, Hakone, in Kanagawa prefecture is one of the most famous hot spring resort areas in Japan, and home to numerous different springs. One of the oldest is Kodakara Onsen, a hot spring that has been loved by visitors for eight hundred and fifty years.
Next door to this history-rich hot spring is Hakone Guest House Samurai Oyado, which opened in May 2017. This traditional style Japanese guest house, which features full services in English, is one that those who may be feeling apprehensive about staying at a standard Japanese ryokan can easily visit. In fact, one of the perks of staying here is use of Kodakara Onsen, even if you have tattoos!
Enjoy Public Baths and Hot Springs, Even With Tattoos!
If you're hoping to take in some of Japan's unique bath culture, but aren't sure you can enter a hot spring without mummifying yourself in tattoo-covering stickers, then a visit to one of these public baths in Tokyo or Hakone, is your best option.