If you’re looking for a unique cultural experience to enjoy while you’re in Japan, public bath hot springs (onsen) are a wonderful place to get started. Visiting an onsen is very popular here in Japan. There are many different beautiful hot springs all over the country due to the country’s volcanic activity. Many people who travel to Japan and have tattoos unfortunately miss out on this great cultural experience because of their tattoos. If you have tattoos and want to check out an onsen, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are 6 different tattoo-friendly onsen experiences in Osaka that you can visit so you can enjoy this great part of Japanese culture too.
If you haven’t ever been to Japan before, you might not know about the culture behind tattoos here. The stigma behind tattoos in Japan goes very deep into Japanese history. During the Meiji era tattoos were banned because of the desire for modernization after opening the Japanese border to western countries. Later on, tattoos were used as a means for branding criminals, which is why they are often associated with the Yakuza. While tattoos are not banned anymore, this history still has a large impact on the way tattoos are looked at in Japan today. As a result, many public bath houses do not allow people with tattoos to enter them under any circumstances.
Our first tattoo-friendly onsen on this list is the Yama no Yu onsen. The Yama no Yu onsen accepts all tattoos, so you don’t have to worry about covering them at all! This onsen is south of Osaka city, near the prefectural border between Osaka and Wakayama. The Yama no Yu onsen is best known for its rustic atmosphere and its opaque sodium baths surrounded by beautiful mountains. What makes this place unique is the water of the hot springs. The water here is pure sodium with a light scent of sulfur. It seems to cling to your skin, making it that much more moisturizing! Despite being such a beautiful and unique experience, Yama no Yu onsen is actually quite unexplored. This is a great spot to visit if you’re looking for a nice onsen experience without the crowds.
You can get to Yama no Yu from Osaka station in about an hour and a half by hopping on the Osaka Loop Line bound for Wakayama. Once you arrive at Hineno Station, exit the train station and get on the Hineno Station Bus. You’ll then want to get off at the Inunakiyama Bus stop, and the Yama no Yu onsen is just a short walk from there The Yama no Yu onsen is open year round, so you can come visit whichever day you’d like! The bathing fee for adults here is 700 yen and there is a small parking lot available if you’d like to drive. The open hours of this onsen are from 10:00am until 6:00pm.
Address: 2234 Ogi, Izumisano, Osaka 598-0023, Japan Inunakiyama Onsen, Yama no Yu
Our second tattoo-friendly onsen near Osaka is called Fureai Onsen Yata. This spacious public bath has both indoor and outdoor onsen for you to enjoy. There’s even an electric bath, too! There’s also a sauna available for you to try out as well at the low cost of 100 yen per person. All tattoos are accepted here, so you don’t have to worry about covering up. The barrier-free design of Fureai Onsen Yata also makes it equipped to accommodate people in wheelchairs! This onsen is great for people who want to enjoy the onsen experience early, since it opens at 6:00am. Might be a nice place to drop by if you want somewhere to relax before the shops open up. Keep in mind though that this onsen is not open between 11:00am and 3:30pm, so plan accordingly.
If you’re coming from Osaka Station, hop on the Counter Clockwise Osaka Loop Line. Once you arrive at Tennoji station, get off the train and head to Osaka-Abenobashi Station. You’ll want to get on the Kintetsu-Minamiosaka Line towards Yata Station. From Yata Station, it's about a 10 minute walk to Fureai Onsen Yata. The bathing fees to use the onsen are 440 yen for adults, 150 yen for elementary school-aged children, and 60 yen for preschool-aged children. The hours of operation are from 6:00am until 11:00am and 3:30pm until 12:00am. This onsen is open for business every day except for the fourth Tuesday of every month and occasional closures for maintenance.
The next selection of tattoo-friendly onsen on our list is Radium Onsen. This open-air bath has a direct view of the Tsutenkaku tower in the Naniwa Ward, so you can be certain that you’ll have a unique view here! Tattoos of all kinds are accepted here, so even if you’re covered all over you can come relax and enjoy the view. There are two special ways that you can experience this onsen. First, you can check on the highly concentrated artificial spring bath facility, which is a rare occurrence in the Kansai region. The second attraction here is the radium ore hot springs. The radioactive hot spring is said to assist with joint and spine issues as well as rheumatism and gastrointestinal issues. If you’re looking for a unique experience that you won’t find anywhere else, you should definitely check out the Radium Onsen!
You can get to Radium Onsen from Osaka Station in about 25 minutes. You’ll want to get on the Osaka Loop Line bound for Shin-Imamiya Station. Once you get to Shin-Imamiya Station, it’s about a 7 minute walk to get to Radium Onsen. You’ll know you’re close by when you see the large Tsutenkaku tower. This onsen is open for business from 6:00am until 12:00am, so there will be plenty of time for you to come enjoy this experience. The cost of entrance is 450 yen for adults, 150 yen for elementary school-aged children, and 60 yen for preschool-aged children.
Address:1 Chome-4-13 Ebisuhigashi, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, 556-0002, Japan
Our next selection on our list of tattoo-friendly onsen is the Healthy Spa Tateba. Don't worry about your tattoos because they're all accepted here! This place perfect if you're a night owl or if you’re a traveler struggling with jet lag. In addition to the public bath, this lovely spa also has a series of saunas for you to enjoy. For an extra fee, you can explore the infrared sauna on the north side of the spa, or the salt sauna at the south side. The two areas are divided for men and women every day, so if you want to check out both saunas you'll have to visit twice! This spa offers different types of baths for you to enjoy such as the “hell” bath, which is extra hot, and the body-numbing electric bath. There is also a tanning salon too, that you can enjoy for an additional fee.
From Osaka Station, getting to Healthy Spa Tateba will take you roughly 25 minutes. You’ll want to hop on the Osaka Loop Line at Osaka Station bound for Ashiharabashi. Once you reach Ashiharabashi, it's about a 9 minute walk to get to Healthy Spa Tateba. This onsen’s operating hours are later than normal. Come enjoy the spa from 2:00pm until 5:00am. This onsen is open year round every day each week. The bathing fees cost 450 yen for adults, 150 yen for elementary school-aged children, and 60 yen for preschool-aged children.
The fifth tattoo-friendly onsen on our list is actually a combination of two different onsen. The first one we will tell you about is the Kin no Yu onsen. This onsen is characterized by two famous bathing areas, the Ichi no Yu and Ni no Yu. Both bathing areas accept all tattoos, so you won’t need to cover them in order to enjoy your experience here. The name “Kin no Yu” means “Golden Spring” and it has certainly earned its name. The baths here are characterized by iron-rich waters with a cloudy, yellowish brown color. The bathing fees for Kin no Yu are 650 yen for adults and 340 yen for children. Infants can bathe here for free. The Kin no Yu is open from 8:00am until 10:00pm every day except the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month and the day after national holidays.
GIN NO YU
The second onsen in this combination is the Gin no Yu onsen. The name “Gin no Yu” means “Silver Spring”, and it certainly earns its name just like its counterpart. Unlike the Kin no Yu, the Gin no Yu waters are light and clear. It is a mix of carbonated spring water and radium spring water, making for a wonderful bath that moisturizes your skin. Just like the Kin no Yu, this bath accepts all tattoos. The bathing fees here are 550 yen for adults and 290 yen for children. There is no cost for infants here. The Gin no Yu onsen is open from 9:00am until 9:00pm every day except the first and third Tuesday of the month and the day after national holidays.
From Umeda Station in Osaka, getting to the Kin no Yu and Gin no Yu onsens will take a little over an hour. First you’ll want to get on the Midosuji Line bound for Shin-Osaka station. Once you get to Shin-Osaka station, you’ll need to hop on the bus outside of the station bound for Arima. After you get to Arima, it’s about a two minute walk before you reach Kin no Yu onsen. If you want to try both onsens here, you’ll be glad to know that there is actually a combination deal! The double ticket set for both the Kin no Yu and Gin no Yu costs 850 yen for adults. The opening hours and available days do differ slightly between these two onsen, so please plan accordingly.
Gin no Yu: 1039-1 Arima-cho, Kita-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo Prefecture
Kin no Yu: 833 Arima-cho, Kita-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo Prefecture
Our final tattoo-friendly onsen we have to show you today is the Akashi Yu onsen. This bath house features many different types of baths for everyone to enjoy. This onsen allows tattoos as well! Some of the featured baths here are the cold bath, the electric bath, and the ultrasonic bath. These aren’t the only options here though, there are many more for you to come experience for yourself. There is also a massage area on the third floor, but it is for men only. This bath house is part of the Osaka Public Bath Association. Because of this, you can purchase a discounted voucher here for 10 tickets and use them at other onsens that are part of the Osaka Public Bath Association. If you’re interested in trying a variety of baths at once, Akashi Yu is a great place to go.
Getting to the Akashi Yu onsen from Umeda station should take you about 20 minutes or so. You’ll want to get on the Midosuji line bound for Shinsaibashi station. Once you arrive at Shinsaibashi Station, you’ll need to walk about ten minutes in order to reach the Akashi Yu onsen. The bathing fees here are 450 yen for adults, 150 yen for elementary school-aged children, and 60 yen for preschool-aged children. If you’re planning on some repeat visits, you can also get a discount if you purchase a voucher for 10 tickets at once. This onsen is open from 12:00pm until 3:30am every day except for Sunday. There is also a parking lot near the building that you can use for a fee if you’d like to drive.
Visiting an onsen is an unforgettable experience that everyone should get to enjoy. If you have tattoos and want to check out this part of Japanese culture in Osaka, don’t fret. These six onsen are some of the best options out there for you, but this list is not exhaustive. There are many more onsen in the Osaka area and beyond that allow tattoos, you just have to find them! If you want to visit an onsen but aren’t sure if they allow tattoos, you can always ask. Even if the answer is no, you will not be treated rudely or yelled at. From the night owl hours of Healthy Spa Tateba to the early bird hours of Fureai Onsen Yata, there is something here for everyone. If you come to Osaka, you should definitely pay a visit to one of these 6 tattoo-friendly Osaka onsen experiences.