In June last year, visitors to the Shiobara hot-spring resort in Tochigi Prefecture were greeted by a notice informing them that one of the area's top attractions was now off-limits. Fudo no Yu, an outdoor bath nestled alongside a secluded forest trail, had been closed indefinitely "due to repeated offenses against public morals."

Shigeki Tashiro, head of the neighborhood organization responsible for managing Shiobara's public onsen (hot-spring) baths, confirmed that Fudo no Yu had been drawing a bad crowd.

"Groups of like-minded people would get together there on a regular basis, and watch men and women engage in indecent acts," he says. "It seems that adult videos were being filmed there, too."