One of the common rules that a lot of people know about hot spring bathing is the “no tattoo” rule. Despite Japan’s advanced way of living, there seems to remain a stigma that accompanies people who have tattoos on their bodies. To many locals, tattoos still signify an association with notorious groups and organized crime syndicates, which tend to scare them off. Anyone can fall victim to the stigma, which is why a lot of public and private onsen don’t allow guests who have tattoos to use their service.
But in one way or another, tattoos are a form of art, and there are a lot of people from around the globe who appreciate the meticulous details of ink applied on one’s skin. Good thing is, there are some places in Japan that are now tattoo-friendly and don’t mind accommodating guests with ink art on their bodies.
Gotembashi Onsenkaikan in Shizuoka Prefecture is one of them, and here are three reasons that make this onsen a must-visit!
The site isn’t far from the foot of Mt. Fuji so you are guaranteed a nice view of the mountain’s glory, especially if you visit during a fine day. While the place doesn’t have an outdoor bath that can be really great for nature enthusiasts, its indoor baths feature huge glass windows where you can see and enjoy the direct, unadulterated beauty of the outside.
The water in the indoor baths come from the town’s very own three hot springs, making for a legitimate hot bath experience!
If you go for the usual onsen services in the city that offer accommodation, bath, and food packages, you may end up spending more. Gotembashi Onsenkaikan is a very good alternative if you’re on a tight budget and aren’t really planning to stay overnight.
At 800 yen, you already get an all-day pass for the site where you can dip in the hot spring all you want. Guests can also go for a three-hour pass for only 500 yen. If you decide to visit the place after 8:00 PM, you get to enjoy an even bigger discount. Accessory items like towels and cotton yukata can also be bought and rented from the place.
Hot springs have long been popular for their apparent therapeutic effects, and experience has told many that it can be a great treat for your skin, too! Take a breather from a whole day activity and give this a try.
Apart from providing a quality hot spring treat to locals and foreign guests, Gotembashi Onsenkaikan also nurtures a culture of acceptance by opening its doors to visitors who may be under social stigma. Tattoos may still not be acceptable in most places in Japan, but this onsen tells you that it’s okay to take pride in the art even in public baths.
If you’re eyeing for a wonderful experience that combines a great view of Mt. Fuji and a relaxing hot spring experience minus the usual crowd associated with public baths, then you shouldn’t miss this place!
Gotembashi Onsenkaikan Website *Automatic translation available