Japan and tattoos
Scurre 
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24 / Sweden
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Posted 2/19/13
So, I myself and a close friend will be going to Japan (9 days of Tokyo and 9 days of cruising the railway to be more exact). I've heard and read alot about "tourists" aka gaijin with tattoos getting thrown out of bath houses and hot-springs. Even in some rare occations restaurants.

It's not that I care much if it happens to us, we're both pretty easy-going and have a devil may care attitude. But visiting a hot spring is one of the fundemental experiances for a Swede such as myself when I actually am in Japan. Missing out on that would suck.

Anyway, does anyone have any personal experiance regarding this matter or anything a friend/family member have had happen to them?

Regards
Scurre
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Posted 2/19/13 , edited 2/19/13
It depends highly on the visibility, number and size of the tattoos, aside from that it depends on the Onsen itself and whoever's behind the counter.
All I can say is always ask before you get into the awkward situation where you are asked to leave.

I could recommend you to visit Furasato Onsen on the Sakurajima Volcano south of Kagoshima as they make visitors wear bathing Yukata rendering any tattoo a non-issue, but they went bankrupt last year. :'(

Another tip I can give you is to look for Ryokan with private baths.
Scurre 
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24 / Sweden
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Posted 2/19/13
Thanks for the reply! And for the tip! I kinda guessed as much about size etc, mine is a full upper arm Dragon, so thats gonna be problematic ^^
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Posted 2/20/13
Oh, I do have a thing to add about the Ryokan, they can be quite pricy (Think in the range of €100 up to €700 per visit) but come with meals and bed.
They are however the most complete Onsen experience you can get.

A normal Onsen visit can be free depending on where you go.
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27 / M / ロンドン、カナダ
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Posted 3/8/13
Tattoos are still an issue in many parts of Japan, especially if you're going to some of the older, more traditional establishments. For the longest time the only people to get tattoos in Japan were members of organized crime. Now, while that has been changing in the past couple of decades, the stigma is still present.

In regards to onsen, I'd make sure you check with the staff beforehand about whether or not it'd be an issue.
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Posted 3/10/13
I actually saw some women getting thrown out while I was outside trying to find myself on a map; I didn't see the tattoos they had, but my friend talked to one of the people there and said they had some simple/innocent rose tattoos on their shoulders. I'm not really familiar with the level of strictness in terms of tattoos in Japan, but if it was really just some small roses that had no other significance besides expressing beauty, I'd think it's quite a stupid concept.

However, I didn't see the tattoos myself so I won't claim any cold-hard facts.
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25 / M / United Kingdom
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Posted 3/13/13
Interesting topic, most has been covered - but it's good to see you have the right attitude about it all Scurre. For that reason you are unlikely to have a problem.
Sailor Candy Moderator
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Posted 10/1/13
Closed due to inactivity. It's been over half a year and no new posts.
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