Update: 31 August 2016
How to Bathe in Japanese Hot Springs and Public Baths
Here we introduce etiquette you need to know before going to bathing facilities such as hot springs and public baths.
Preparing to Bathe in a Hot Spring
Before entering the baths, put your clothes in one of the baskets or lockers in the dressing room. Generally, swimsuits and underwear are not allowed in the baths. Take the small towel, but leave the bath towel in the basket. If the locker has a lock, you can leave your valuables there. Some lockers require coins.
"Kakeyu" Before Getting in Hot Springs
When you enter the bathroom, proper etiquette is to rinse your body through "kakeyu" (pouring warm water on yourself) before getting in a bath. Rinsing your body in the shower will also prepare your body for the hot water. It is essential for women to remove makeup so as not to get it in the bath water. When entering the bath, do not jump into the bath like you would a pool.
You Must Not Put Your Towel in the Bathtub
You must not put your towel in the bathtub. You can put it on your head or by the bathtub. Do not add any cold water to the hot spring without asking even if it is too hot for you.
Clean the Buckets and the Stools
When you wash your hair and body in the shower, you may use the small bucket and stool by it. After using them, wash off any soap with the shower and put them back where they were. Proper etiquette is to keep them clean for the next person.
Don't Use Things That Belong to Others
If you find shampoo or soap in a small plastic basket, they likely belong to other guests. You can use the shampoo and other products that are there for public use. Shampoo and soap are not always supplied, so it's a good idea to inquire in advance.
Tips for Going Back to the Dressing Room
Avoid returning to the dressing room while your body is still wet. Go to your locker after wiping your head and body lightly with a towel. After that, wipe your body thoroughly with your bath towel.
Clean the Sink After Use
In many cases, there are dryers available by the sinks. After drying your hair, you should use something such as a tissue to clean the area so that the person who uses the sink after you can use it comfortably. If someone is waiting, you should take as little time as possible so the next person can use it.
Can People with Tattoos Use Hot Springs?
Many hot spring facilities prohibit people with tattoos from entering their facilities, so if you have any tattoos, it is a good idea to inquire in advance.
Bathing facilities such as hot springs and public baths have many rules you need to obey. The basic manner is "not to make others uncomfortable". Read their rules carefully and enjoy bathing.
*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
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