Rain drops fall, bouncing off the surface of the steaming, open-air pool. Up to my neck in hot water, I turn my gaze to the left see roughly hewn boulders and mini Cyprus trees flanking the water — a makeshift Zen garden of sorts. There's a chill in the air, which makes the scalding temperature of the mineral-infused waters more bearable. To my right sit four Japanese men, also submerged in the water, their eyes closed and beatific expressions on their reclined faces. Aside from the gentle pitter-patter of rainfall, the silence is almost palpable. While there's nothing especially out of the ordinary about this scene — extreme serenity aside, perhaps — there is one thing that's making me internally squirm.
2. They May Not Let You in With Tattoos
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page. Being naked in front of strangers is the stuff of nightmares for many people. But in Japan , being naked with strangers is part of the cultural experience of visiting a Japanese bath. I was extremely self-conscious the first time I visited a Japanese bath. There are two types of Japanese baths: public bathhouses sento and hot-spring baths onsen. Go ahead and get comfortable with the idea of bathing naked with strangers. You can partially cover yourself with a small towel while walking around the baths, but culture dictates that this towel should never touch the water.
1. You’ll Be Naked
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No towel, no problem. Catch this traditional Japanese experience of a mixed-gender host spring bath before it slips away With Japan being a highly volcanic island, the Japanese have harnessed and perfected the art of onsen , or hot springs , for centuries.