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Inns and ink - are tattoos a no go at ryokan?

Onsen (public bath) at a ryokan
Inns and ink - are tattoos a no go at ryokan?

One of the paramount experiences in Japan is to stay at a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn). One of the paramount experiences at a ryokan is soaking in the public bath.  But if you are covered in body ink, here’s what you need to know. Until recently, the only people in Japan who got tattoos were yakuza (Japanese mafia), a pretty rough crowd not known for their gentility.  To forestall any trouble, and without seeming to deliberately single out yakuza, ryokans made a rule that people with tattoos were not welcome.  Today, some ryokan uphold this rule. People whose tattoos are not visible while clothed might manage to slip in unnoticed, but the minute that guest disrobes for the bath…busted.  Asia Answers knows which ryokan allow guests with tattoos, and which do not; you’ll never be told there is no room at the inn.



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