Tattoo-Friendly Onsen Near in Kyoto and Osaka – A common question amongst travellers is whether or not tattoos are allowed or banned from certain onsen facilities. By now, if you’ve done your basic research on onsen bathing in Japan, you would have most likely come across the overarching rule that many places don’t allow visitors with tattoos to enter or use their facilities.
Whilst there is a long history behind it, the main reason is that owners do not want anything that is remotely associated with yakuza or gang-activity within their facilities, i.e. tattoos.
However, you’ll be glad to know that in recent years, many onsen baths have relaxed their policy, and whilst there is still a long way to go before tattoos are widely accepted across Japan, it’s heading in a positive direction. So, to save you some time, we’ve listed below onsen near Kyoto and Osaka that we reckon you should check out. Some are off-the-beaten track, and some are situated within ryokan establishments, but all of them are tattoo-friendly.
5 Tattoo-Friendly Onsen Near Kyoto
Here are 5 onsen spots near Kyoto that you can visit even if you have tattoos.
- Kurama Onsen
- Funaoka Onsen
- Kyoto Kitashirakawa Fudo Onsen
- Kyoto Arashiyama Onsen Kadensho
- Takao Kinsuitei
1. Kurama Onsen
This onsen is an incredible gorgeous and relaxing facility that sits just under an hour away from Kyoto. It’s situated up in the mountain, nestled alongside luscious greenery, with birds chirping in the distance and crisp mountain air.
One of the best things about this onsen is that it can be included in a fun itinerary for a great day trip from Kyoto: head to Kibune nearby, which is a small forested town which hosts a magnificent shrine and small cosy restaurants that built platforms over the rivers for customers to dine on in summer (called Kawadoko dining).
Once you’re done exploring, do the leisurely hike to Kuruma Onsen for a long, well-deserved soak. It is part of a ryokan, but they do accept day visitors.
- Address: 520 Kuramahonmachi, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 601-1111, Japan
- Access: From Kuruma Station, it is a 12-minute walk.
- Hours: 10:00am – 9:00pm
- Price: Outdoor bath only: 1,000 yen, Indoor and Outdoor bath: 2,500 yen
- Overnight Stay: Book here
2. Funaoka Onsen
This quaint little historic onsen is not only a visual stunner, but if you’re looking to experience the waters, you’re in for a shock (literally!). When you enter the onsen, you’ll be greeted with gorgeous Japanese wooden carved artworks and stone walls. A modern facility this is not – it’s historic, traditional, and authentic through and through.
There are multiple types of baths here, both indoor and outdoor, but it’s attractor-factor would be its denki-buro, a bath that runs a low, soft but visibly obvious current through its waters. The idea behind this is that it’s meant to soothe sore muscles!
- Address: 82-1 Murasakino Minamifunaokacho, Kita Ward, Kyoto, 603-8225, Japan
- Access: From Kyoto Station, take the Karasuma line towards Kuramaguchi Station. Alight there and walk 18-minutes to the onsen.
- Hours: 3:00pm – 1:00am
- Price: 430 yen
3. Kyoto Kitashirakawa Fudo Onsen
This is one of the most traditional onsen baths that you can find, so if it’s an original authentic experience you’re after, look into this onsen which is situated less than an hour from Kyoto. The nostalgic ambience and cozy atmosphere here is what draws the crowds, so you can expect your visit here to be full of peaceful and quiet down-time.
The waters here have been boasted as being incredibly nourishing for the skin and body by improving immunity and blood flow. In the actual onsen, the ceiling is designed to be super low so that the steam rising from the water is trapped within the room, containing the hot vapours and allowing them to further absorb into the skin. They also serve authentic Japanese cuisine here, which you can reserve with the host when you arrive.
- Address: 1-125 Kitashirakawa Jizodanicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8294, Japan
- Access: From Kyoto Station, take the Karasume Line towards Kyoto University and then alight. This will take 32-minutes. From there, walk 2-minutes to Kyodai Nogakubu bus station and take the Hieidaira Bus #56 to Jizodani (12-minutes, 5 stops), and alight there for the onsen.
- Hours: 10:00am – 7:00pm
- Price: 1,300 yen
This onsen facility is a bit of a unique one. It is indeed an onsen facility that welcomes guests, however, for guests with tattoos, instead of the public onsen baths, they are allowed to use the five private rental baths for free.
These private baths are unfortunately not natural, as they are made of boiled water or contain water from an artificial hot spring, however, the experience is very similar, and for the cost of nothing, it’s a pretty good deal! Better yet, no reservation is required so you can rock up and if the lamp outside the room is off, it’s vacant.
This style of ‘onsen’ bathing is one-of-a-kind, and it’s also a ryokan accommodation facility so you can book accommodation, with certain rooms also coming with private baths. Please note that the facility is free to use if you’re a current guest (with or without a tattoo).
- Address: 5-4 Arashiyama Nishiichikawacho, Nishikyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-0003, Japan
- Access: From Arashiyama Station, it is a 2-minute walk.
- Hours: 3:00pm – 11:00am (next morning)
- Overnight Stay: Book here
5. Takao Kinsuitei
If grand luxury and gorgeous views is what you’re after, then Takao Kinsuitei is the ryokan/onsen for you. This stunning onsen that’s located in the mountains next to the Kiyotaki River is a wonderful escape from the city, and great first or last or anytime-in-between experience. Note that there are no large public baths; instead, they have a private family-style bath that you will need to rent.
The large windows in each room open up to gorgeous mountain scenery, bound to make you forget about all your worries and immerse yourself in the moment. During the summer season between May and September, ‘kawadoko’ outdoor dining above the river is available at the onsen. Also, during the mid-late June period, you will be able to see fireflies here.
- Address: 40 Umegahata Tonohatacho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8293, Japan
- Access: From Kyoto Bus Stop, take the 栂ノ尾行 bus towards Makinoo Bus Stop. From there alight and walk towards Kinsuitei. The entire trip should take just under 1 hour.
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5 Tattoo-Friendly Onsen Near Osaka
You will find below 5 onsen near Osaka that accepts people with tattoos.
- Asebi Onsen Yasuragi No Sato
- Healthy Onsen Tateba
- Shikanoyu Hotel
- Kumihama Onsen Yumotokan
- Mizuha Hot Spring
1. Asebi Onsen Yasuragi No Sato
This particular onsen is a popular option for those looking for a day-trip. It’s also widely popular with the local residents, so you know that it’s bound to be good. The spacious facility offers up to eight different kinds of onsen pools, all offering a different kind of experience. They include a gorgeous open-air bath where you can take in the gorgeous surrounding forest and breath in the fresh mountain air, a cascading stream bath, and even a bubble bath.
In addition, there are also two kinds of saunas to make use of when you want a bit of a break from the onsen. The alkaline sulphur spring water here is said to have an enriching moisturising effect on the skin. Please note that anyone with a tattoo can access this onsen facility as long as they cover their tattoos up with sticker sheets.
- Address: Mukunokibara-30-1 Osaka, Itano, Itano District, Tokushima 779-0101, Japan
- Access: The easiest and quickest way to get here would be to hire a rental car and drive two hours from Osaka to the onsen.
- Hours: 10:00am – 9:30pm
- Price: 500 yen
2. Healthy Onsen Tateba
For an all-inclusive, run-of-the-mill-but-ticks-all-the-boxes type of onsen experience, the Healthy Onsen Tateba, located right in Osaka City, is one of your best options. You won’t need to travel very far to be able to access its multiple types of onsen baths.
This onsen facility is considered quite large and relatively modern compared to most traditional bath houses, and offers plenty of services and facilities that might even make you confused if you’re a first timer.
The building itself consists of three levels: the first floor is the parking lot and laundromat, the second floor consists of a sento bath and sauna, and the third floor hosts a tanning salon.
The actual onsen bathing area is divided into two sections, a north side and a south side, which alternates daily for men and women. The main difference between the two sides is that the north side offers an infrared style-sauna, whilst the south side boasts a salt sauna. Some of the major attractions of this onsen facility include its ‘hell bath’, a bath that is set at an extremely hot temperature, a body-numbing electric bath, and a cold-water bath.
Many people also see this as a one-stop-shop as they can stop by into the tanning salon afterwards for a tanning session. The tanning salon is actually quite impressive, with state-of-the-art machinery and facilities.
- Address: 2 Chome-14-19 Sakuragawa, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, 556-0022, Japan
- Access: From JR Namba Station, it is a 10 minute walk.
- Hours: 2:00pm – 5:00am
- Price: 450 yen (sauna = additional 300 yen, tanning salon = 2,300 yen)
3. Shikanoyu Hotel
This gorgeous hot spring hotel set in the Suzuka mountain ranges is the perfect respite from the city. It’s an especially popular option for couples as it resides close-by to Sangakuji temple, which is a temple known for its fulfillment of love.
The hotel itself offers both indoor and outdoor public onsen baths, however, these are not open to those with tattoos. Instead, hotel guests with tattoos can easily access one of two private onsen baths that are perfect for couples, families, and groups.
These private rooms offer alkaline-rich spring water flowing through the bath, with gorgeous views of the surrounding mountain ranges. For those wishing to visit on a day trip, you can rock up and pay a bathing fee of 1,000 yen for the public onsen, or 2,000 yen for 50-minutes of use of the private onsen.
- Address: 8520-1 Komono, Mie District, Mie 510-1233, Japan
- Access: From Osaka, the quickest way and possibly cheapest way to get there would be to hire a rental car and drive just over two hours to get there. Otherwise, you can take a train from Shin-Osaka station to Nagoya Station, and alight there to walk to the Meitetsu Bus Centre. Catch the Yunoyama Onsen/Gozaisho Ropeway bus and alight at Yunoyama Onsen/Gozaisho Ropeway. Walk 6-minutes to Shikanoyu Hotel. The total time is 2 hours 30 minutes and it will cost 8,000-yen one way.
- Hours: 11:00am – 3:00pm, 3:00pm – 10:00pm (private)
- Price: 1,000 yen for public bath, 2,000 yen for private bath
- Overnight Stay: Book here
4. Kumihama Onsen Yumotokan
On offer here is one of the purest onsen experiences you will ever come across. From its 100% pure spring water which flows directly from the river access to the pools, to the humble architecture, location, and facilities of this onsen bath, you’ll feel comfortable and at ease the moment you arrive.
Its biggest feature is its large open outdoor bath which can accommodate up to a whopping 100 people! Soak in this for a while before exploring the rest of the facilities, which offers medicinal bath experiences, jet bath experiences and more. From November until March, guests can also enjoy crab on the menu as it is crab season.
- Address: 1106-4 Kumihamacho Hirata, Kyōtango, Kyoto 629-3432, Japan
- Access: You will need to hire a rental car to get to here, as it is a 2.5 hour drive from Osaka.
- Hours: 9:00am – 9:00pm
- Price: 600 yen (bath only), 5,500 yen (bath + kaiseki meal)
5. Mizuha Hot Spring
Located in the nearby Nara region, Yahata Onsen is a fun little day trip that’s suitable for the family as well as large groups and couples. The onsen is actually located within popular outdoor leisure activity area called “Furusato Village”, so with proper planning and organisation, you can make a full day of fun and games, and activities and onsen bathing out of it.
The onsen facility itself offers two types of baths, the “hinoki bath” and the “rock bath with granite”. They alternate between men and women, but both offer a serene relaxation experience and the ultimate mountain views. There’s also a relaxing resting area in the hot water lounge for you to unwind (even further, if that’s possible!).
- Address: Yamanishi-298-3 Tenkawa-mura, Yoshino-gun, Yoshino District, Nara 638-0553, Japan
- Access: It is just under two hours drive from Osaka.
- Hours: 11:00am – 8:00pm
- Price: 700 yen
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Onsen bathing is honestly the most wholesome, relaxing activity you can do in Japan. We strongly urge you to go at least once during your visit. Try and have nothing planned, because a day spent in a ryokan, enjoying delicious fresh kaiseki, dipping in and out of your own private onsen and taking in the views of natural Japan is almost a privilege – don’t sleep on it!
And if you are looking for a similar list for Tokyo, make sure to read this blog post: Tattoo Friendly Onsen In Tokyo.