5 Tattoo-Friendly Onsens In Tokyo
Soothe Your Soul With A Soak
Everyone, tattoo or no tattoo, deserves to sample one of Japan’s most bliss-inducing natural treasures: the hot spring.
As someone who has three tattoos, I often get told, “Well, guess you’ve put a stop to entering onsens (hot springs) for life then.” And sadly I felt this was true. In fact, on most occasions, I’ve been turned down politely. I know it’s not personal, but I couldn’t help but still feel slightly embarrassed and ashamed.
If you weren’t already aware, many people in Japan unfortunately do not look at tattoos favorably. Due to Japan’s history of associating tattoos with criminal connections, cultural sensitivity, social views and strong anti-tattoo views, those who do have body art are likely to find things more complicated. For example, your ink will see you banned from accessing certain places such as pools, spas, gyms and hot springs.
It’s often just to avoid offending other bathers. However, this idea is slowly changing, mainly thanks to tattoo-welcoming onsens. Yes, they do exist! Here are five of the finest tattoo-friendly onsens in Tokyo below.
Located at the heart of Tokyo in Nerima-ku, Hisamatsuyu can be described as a contemporary, natural hot spring with its incredibly stylish, modern design. After being renovated a few times, it currently boasts ultra-sleek black walls and bath tiles, minimalistic wood-paneled changing rooms and sauna, a cool projection-mapped rooftop, as well as a beautiful outdoor bath to enjoy a luscious soak on a crisp Tokyo evening. As soon as you step barefoot onto the heated floorboards of this contemporary hot spring, you’ll feel all your stress and worries vanish as you know you’re about to experience heaven. Another cool fact about this hot spring is that the baths here use quality sodium water that’s been drawn from 1,500 meters underground!
- Address: 4-32-15 Sakuradai, Nerima City, Tokyo
- Closest Station: Sakuradai Station (Seibu Ikebukuro Line)
- Ticket Price: Entry fee: adult (12+) ¥520, junior high school/elementary school students ¥200, children/preschoolers ¥100; Sauna fee: ¥500; Women-only carbonated shower 5 minutes fee: ¥300
- Opening Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. (last admission 10:30 p.m.) Closed every Tuesday.
- Website: https://www.hisamatsuyu.jp/
For when one bath is just not enough. Yudonburi Sakae-yu, is the perfect retreat where you will be able to experience up to seven different types of indoor and outdoor baths (yes, seven!) including a rotenburo (an open-air outdoor style onsen), a neburo (lie-down bath) and a denkiburo (electric bath). Thanks to being positioned in one of Tokyo’s most touristy areas as well as openly advertising itself on its website as “our shop is tattoo ok!”, this hot spring is very popular with international guests. In other words, there is absolutely no need to worry about being the only foreigner there. At an additional fee, don’t forget to also pop into their dry sauna where you can enjoy watching TV and, more importantly, have a proper detox.
- Address: 1-4-5 Nihonzutsumi, Taito City, Tokyo
- Closest Station: Minowa Station (Hibiya line)
- Ticket Price: Entry fee: adult (13+) ¥520, junior high school students ¥300, junior-aged 7-12 ¥200; Sauna fee: ¥500
- Opening Hours: Weekdays and Saturdays 2 p.m.-11 p.m. (last admission 10:30 p.m.); Sundays and Holidays 12 p.m.-11 p.m. (last admission 10:30 p.m.) Closed every Wednesday.
- Website: http://sakaeyu.com/
Who’s ready to go on an art adventure x blissful bathing experience? My hand is up and yours should be too! This onsen in Shinagawa is a beautiful, stylish bathhouse known for its amazing ceiling-high murals and hanging artwork pieces by the highly-regarded sento (public bath) artist, Morio Nakajima. Another huge reason why this place remains very popular among all is that the hot springs use black hot water using high-quality sodium bicarbonate. On top of this, they only use soft water. The combination of soft water and sodium bicarbonate is very good for the skin and removes dirt thoroughly to prevent rough skin and pimples. You will instantly notice your skin feeling smoother and refreshed after stepping out of Togoshi Ginza Onsen, and perhaps a smile spread across your face.
- Address: 2-1-6 Togoshi, Shinagawa City, Tokyo
- Closest Station: Togoshi Station (Toei Asakusa line) or Togoshi Ginza Station (Tokyu Ikegami line)
- Ticket Price: Entry fee: adult ¥500, middle school students ¥300, elementary school students ¥200, infants/preschoolers ¥100; Sauna fee: ¥800
- Opening Hours: Weekdays and Saturdays 3 p.m.-1 a.m. Sundays and Holidays from 8 a.m. Closed every Friday.
- Website: http://togoshiginzaonsen.com/information/index.html
We all have days where we just need to get away from it all. A day to completely relax and forget all your problems and responsibilities. At Mannenyu, a hidden hot spring in the city center, you’ll be guaranteed to have this blissful day. This cozy, tattoo-friendly onsen facility has been open since the 1960s and has been renovated to look and feel more modern and contemporary. However, it still preserves its authentic look with wooden slats and walls. You can experience different types of baths (which all use soft water) such as a 45-degree silk bath great for rejuvenating your skin, a jet bath and a denkiburo. Say goodbye to your woes (at least for the day!)
- Address: 1-15-17 Okubo, Shinjuku City, Tokyo
- Closest Station: Shin-Okubo Station (Yamanote line)
- Ticket Price: Entry fee: adult ¥520, child ¥200, preschooler ¥100
- Opening Hours: 3 p.m.-12 a.m. (last admission 11:30 p.m.) Closed every Saturday.
- Website: https://mannenyu.jp/
Just a seven-minute walk from Gakugei-Daigaku Station on the Tokyu Toyoko Line sits Takaban-no-Yu, a locally loved, retro-style onsen. This particular hot spring is very open and has a positive attitude towards tattoos so you won’t need to feel nervous going in. It’s a great option for those who have been walking around, exploring the city all day and want to unwind for a couple of hours. Soothe your mind and soul in their regular baths, chilled bath and jacuzzi baths. You can even choose to take a break from the water and step into their salt saunas in between baths. One thing you must check out though is their outdoor bath located on the roof. These baths are special in that they use medicinal herbs taken from around the world. In other words, you’ll be able to enjoy the breathtaking view of the Tokyo night sky while you’re soaking in the “healing” bath. It doesn’t get any better than that.
- Address: 2-2-1 Takaban, Meguro City, Tokyo
- Closest Station: Gakugei-Daigaku Station (Tokyu Toyoko line)
- Ticket Price: Entry fee: adult ¥520, child ¥200, infant ¥100; Sauna fee: ¥600
- Opening Hours: Weekdays and Weekends 3 p.m. – 12 a.m. (last admission 11:30 P.M.) Closed every Thursday and Friday.
- Website: https://www.takaban-yu.com/
Have you ever been to a tattoo-friendly onsen in Tokyo? What was your experience like? Let us know along with any other tattoo-friendly onsen recommendations in the comments section down below!