a VirtualTourist member
My friend has a tattoo that's too big to cover up. We were warned that certain onsen throughout Japan will prohibit his entrance. Have any of you had experience with this in Kinosaki? I really want to go there but if he's not allowed in the Onsen, there's no point.
There is little concern over foreigners having tattoos. The Japanese know they have a different meaning than the traditional gang tattoos sported by the Japanese themselves. A "No Tattoo" policy usually refers to the type of symbology employed by the criminal world, and many "everyday" Japanese have tattoos not in that tradition, which are not a problem for them.
I have a large tatoo on my back and had no problems with entry in to onsen. I did feel a little uncomfortable however, just knowing the meaning of tatoos in Japan. Make sure your friend reads up on onsen etiquette and he will be fine. His behaviour will be more important than any marks on his body. Have a great trip.