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 Post subject: Japan- onsen and tattoos? And food!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:26 am 
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Saggy Butt
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Location: Vienna
Anyone have experience with very large tattoos and visiting onsen? I feel like because we're obviously tourists and not yakuza that we won't have any problems but i'm reading lots of stories about tattooed people being kicked out of hot baths.

We'll be in Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima. Any food recs? I've scoped HappyCow and am totally excited about all the options but it's hard to narrow down to only a week's worth of eating!


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 Post subject: Re: Japan- onsen and tattoos? And food!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 11:38 am 
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Nailed to the V
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They post signs like these: Image

Image

While the second sign looks like it is targeted at gangsters the first one seems more general. This seems useful:

http://genkijacs.com/blog/index.php?itemid=133


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 Post subject: Re: Japan- onsen and tattoos? And food!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 11:51 am 
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Vegan Since Before There Were Vegetables
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Location: Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Except, I had no problems in Kyoto and Tokyo. I didn't have the guts to try in any of the smaller cities. In Kyoto I pointed at my tattoos with a questioning look (at my first onsen) and they were fine. I did get yelled at, but that was for accidentally letting my hair go into the water. So embarrassing and scary being yelled at in a language you don't understand when you are naked. So, keep your hair up!

Kyoto has awesome vegan food! Make sure you do a shojin ryori temple meal.


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 Post subject: Re: Japan- onsen and tattoos? And food!
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 11:52 am 
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Saggy Butt
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vijita wrote:
Except, I had no problems in Kyoto and Tokyo. I didn't have the guts to try in any of the smaller cities. In Kyoto I pointed at my tattoos with a questioning look (at my first onsen) and they were fine. I did get yelled at, but that was for accidentally letting my hair go into the water. So embarrassing and scary being yelled at in a language you don't understand when you are naked. So, keep your hair up!

Kyoto has awesome vegan food! Make sure you do a shojin ryori temple meal.


Good to know, thanks! Although I live in a country where i'm not a native speaker so i'm very used to being confusedly yelled at! We originally wanted to go to northern japan just to go to onsen but decided not to risk it in the smaller towns there.

Stuff like those pictures are exactly what's freaking me out! I'm definitely still going to try to charm our way in to some places that see a lot of foreigners.


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 Post subject: Re: Japan- onsen and tattoos? And food!
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 12:03 pm 
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Vegan Since Before There Were Vegetables
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Location: Wolfville, Nova Scotia
There are some onsens that are in big hotel chains. Those are more like "pools" but they are definitely filled with tourists. I went to random non-hotel ones that I cycled by (renting a bicycle in Kyoto is awesome because you can cover so much ground! Just don't wipe out like I did. However, if you do, a million Japanese people will probably come help you and offer you bandages and seaweed treats), but I didn't try in the smaller towns. Take a day or overnight trip to Nikko! It is absolutely gorgeous. Maybe my favourite place on earth. I stayed at the Nikko Park Lodge run by a Buddhist monk. I had a vegan temple meal for supper and practised yoga with him the next morning. It was absolutely incredible, and really not all that pricey. Are you getting a rail pass? Oh my gosh, and please get fresh yuba in Kyoto. SO JEALOUS.


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 Post subject: Re: Japan- onsen and tattoos? And food!
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 3:26 am 
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Saggy Butt
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Thanks for the recommendations, vijita! We're going to try to get to Nikko and definitely get yuba. The rail pass didn't really work for us so we're not getting it. Which is too bad cause the trains are unbelievably expensive. I'm super excited though!


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 Post subject: Re: Japan- onsen and tattoos? And food!
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 5:59 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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just make sure before you go that you read up on how onsens work in case you don't know (little stools, soap up outside, etc, soak, get out and scrub again, etc, no potential soap entering the onsen, no towels entering the onsen, etc) because i've also been on the receiving end of yelling because my hair was down, and i also didn't speak japanese at the time. not fun.

northern japan has AMAZING onsens (sulfur! iron! bicarb! wine!) but when i was there they had never dealt with foreigners before and it was a bit sketchy in places-- though great fun. better that you're sticking with the beaten path!!

For Tokyo suggestions you should talk to PistachioRose, who knows the up-to-the-moment stuff. I'm more of an east japan girl so don't know much about Kyoto or Hiroshima, and Tokyo has changed too much since my last visit for me to suggest anything.

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I'm just a drunk who likes fruit. -- Desdemona


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 Post subject: Re: Japan- onsen and tattoos? And food!
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 8:00 am 
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Saggy Butt
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thanks, torque! My husband used to live in northern Japan so he has a lot of experience with onsen, especially ones that don't usually see foreigners, but he didn't have any tattoos then. Long hair sounds like a problem though, good thing my hair is short!


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 Post subject: Re: Japan- onsen and tattoos? And food!
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 10:45 am 
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Kale Wreath
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I can't give you advice about onsens because I don't have the tattoo thing, but I can give advice about food in Tokyo! There was some talk about places in this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=31&t=19594

Where in Tokyo will you be staying?

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 Post subject: Re: Japan- onsen and tattoos? And food!
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 1:21 am 
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Saggy Butt
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thanks, pistachiorose! Those restaurants look awesome. We have some free nights at the Marriott so we're staying at the Ginza location.


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 Post subject: Re: Japan- onsen and tattoos? And food!
PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 3:09 am 
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Saggy Butt
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Well my husband (who is there before me for work) was denied access to the hotel swimming pool today. I fear we are pretty screwed on the onsen experience.


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 Post subject: Re: Japan- onsen and tattoos? And food!
PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 7:51 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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don't give up. my experience is that a single male with tattoos is much more threatening than a couple or a woman.

where is he now, in Ginza? i could see them not allowing that there (rather snooty area). he might be interested in finding a sento (public bath, they're dying out but often allow tattoos) but again not many sento in Ginza, he'd need to go to a "more humble" area of the city.

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Buddha says 'Meh'.--matwinser
I'm just a drunk who likes fruit. -- Desdemona


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 Post subject: Re: Japan- onsen and tattoos? And food!
PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 9:39 am 
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Saggy Butt
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He's in Tsukuba now. At a hotel that has an exercise pool with lanes. With a bunch of other science geeks. We'll keep trying though!


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