Take an On­sen

Tak­ing a hot-spring bath is one way to soak up Ja­pan s cul­ture, but the code of con­duct can be mys­ti­fy­ing. Fol­low our guide to im­pec­ca­ble on­sen eti­quette.

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CHOOSE THE RIGHT DOOR

Men’s baths are des­ig­nated by a blue noren cur­tain with a 男 sym­bol, while women’s use a red noren cur­tain

marked 女.

COVER UP THAT INK

Tat­toos are as­so­ci­ated with or­ga­nized crime in Ja­pan; as a re­sult, many on­sens ban them en­tirely. Cover small ones

with a ban­dage.

DON’T FOR­GET TO WASH

En­ter­ing an on­sen un­washed

is im­po­lite. Sit at a wash sta­tion – each has a stool, bowl, tap and shower – and

douse your­self down.

DITCH THE SWIM­SUIT

Tra­di­tional on­sens have a strict dress code: birth­day suits only. A small, strate­gi­cally placed towel can be used to pre­serve

one’s dig­nity.

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