Voices | VIEWS FROM THE STREET

Views from Tokyo: How do you feel about getting naked with the locals at baths and hot springs?

by Mark Buckton

Laura Jessop-Smith
Florist, 24 (Australian)
I am not too comfortable, and I think it is because the places that I went had a lot of other Australians. Japanese women being there would not be a problem, but I would be happier with fewer Aussies. With a swimsuit would be no problems.

Flo Mueller
Engineer, 30 (German)
It is not a problem for me. I like the culture of cleaning the body in this way, and I don’t look at others anyway. It is similar to sauna culture in Scandinavia, and in Germany we have nude beaches and saunas we go to when we are young, so we are used to it.

Miguel Martinez
Student, 13 (Mexican)
I haven’t tried (public bathing) yet and I do think it is kind of weird. But it will be a good experience, as I am in a new place with a different culture, so if I get the chance one day I will probably do it.

Vanessa Krause
English teacher, 32 (American)
I love going to hot springs. It’s always a lot of fun to bathe in that manner, but is also a little awkward at times, as I tend to get a few looks from Japanese bathers. It is not so much because I’m not Japanese, but more because I am bigger than average.

Jake Ogden
Electrician, 23 (Australian)
I did try to go into a hot spring recently in Kyoto but it was no good as I have quite a few tattoos so I was not allowed. So, when I traveled to Hakuba after that, I didn’t even try, but I certainly wouldn’t mind being naked with the locals. No problem there.

Emi Do
Student, 31 (Japanese-Vietnamese)
When I first tried in 2008, I wasn’t OK. But now I love it, and on a recent cycling tour it was the only way I could get a shower. I am still a bit hesitant as I have small tattoos and have been kicked out twice, although very politely.

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