Onsen are Japanese bath houses heated by natural hot springs. Onsen and hot springs are everywhere in Japan – the positive that goes with having so many earthquakes. Japanese Onsen are more than just a way to relax once a week – they are a way of life. They come with a unique set of customs and etiquette that need to be followed. So, to help you avoid being that guy who burns himself diving into the girl’s Onsen in your board shorts, here is a list of Onsen Dos and Don’ts.
1. Get Nekkid. No bathing suits allowed. Yeah, copious amounts of man ass can get a little weird – deal with it. This IS Unofficial after all, are you really that surprised?
2. Wash your Johnsen before you Onsen. Before you jump in the main pool, grab one of those little stools and scrub it down. When you’re in a tub with a bunch of dudes, it’s definitely reassuring to know that they had a shower first.
3. Blue is for boys and pink (or red) is for girls. Think baby blankets. Onsens are strictly divided by gender. You may not be able to understand Kanji; but unless you are color blind, you have no excuse to mess this one up.
4. Sorry bro, no tats allowed. In Japan, only people involved with the Yakuza (organized crime) have tattoos. So, people with tattoos aren’t allowed in Onsens.
5. Onsens are HOT! Around 113 degrees. So dip a toe before you cannonball – this isn’t the Jackson Hole Inn.