Tourism officials are urging the country’s hot spring establishments to relax their rules regarding tattooed visitors.
Traditional onsens (hot springs) have always had a very strict and unspoken etiquette regarding behaviour and expectations. Tattoos are considered unacceptable because they are commonly associated with the yakuza (the country’s organized crim syndicate).
The Japan Tourism Agency has asked for the rules to be relaxed for foreigners as visitor numbers continue to rise.
If you have booked a flight to Japan, you must visit one of the many beautiful onsens. If you do have a tattoo, then simply cover it up with a sticker. If it is too large then you may be rejected entry to the onsens or asked to reserve a private bath.