Onsens, tattoos and public spaces

Hello , I’m Cagla !  How are you doing?

Japan has many volcanoes, natural hot spring waters and of course very large Onsen culture. You can find Onsen or Ofuro almost everywhere you go. For me, if it’s not public it’s the perfect place to get relax.

Public Onsens it can be very uncomfortable for those who don’t used to Onsen culture.

And there is a huge policy about tattoos. There are a lot of places in Japan that not letting people get inside with tattoos. Just like Onsens, pools and even gyms. Because tattoos were associated with Yakuza. Sometimes covering tattoos are enough to get in but if the tattoos are very large or like yakuza-like you may be denied.

I actually couldn’t enter to a public Onsen once. But I could enter the private one.

I have a medium size tattoo on my arm and it can be very bothersome time to time. When I went to a public pool for the first time, they let me in but they asked me to cover my tattoo with a towel or hide it with a shirt. So, I hided with a long sleeve hoodie, in the middle of a hot summer day…  And my other experience is with the gyms. Well, my friend told me that it can be problem to enter with a tattoo and they even might can’t accept me as a member. But they actually do not check if do you have a tattoo or not. So, basically you can hide your tattoo and live your life as if you don’t have a tattoo.

And at the end of today’s article, I want to show you this news I found on Leah Asmelash, “存在感存在感放つ五輪選手のタトゥー、日本での歴史は複雑”CNN.CO.JP.2021.7.31   According to thethearticle”https://www.cnn.co.jp/style/beauty/35174553.html”, “There was a time when tattoos were taboo, even in the United States. It was supposed to be put in by criminals and people who couldn’t fit into society. ”

Until the 1970s, tattoos were also taboo in the United States and other countries.

Source: Gregorio Borgia/

Since 1970, the popularity of tattoos has increased, especially in Western society. As you can see from last year’s Olympics, there is now a wide variety of tattoos that color the bodies of athletes from all over the world. However, it is completely different from what we see in general Japanese society. The reality is that tattoos are still viewed as taboo in Japan.  But Japanese people say that this situation is gradually changing. I also believe in this and I think that tattoos will be received differently in the future.


Thank you for reading ( ゚Д゚)


This is Cagla

Born and raised in Turkey. Living in Osaka for 6 years.

The primary reason that I’m writing here is to help others
and share the things that I have experienced.