A government survey has found that 56 percent of Japanese hotels and inns do not allow tattooed visitors to enter their public bathing areas.

Meanwhile, 31 percent of such establishments do allow entry by people with tattoos, and 13 percent do so under certain conditions, such as if tattoos are hidden, the survey, released Wednesday, showed.

The Japan Tourism Agency conducted the survey after feedback from tourists with tattoos showed many had hoped to visit hot springs and public baths while in Japan.

The country is aiming to increase the number of foreign visitors to 20 million per year by 2020.

A ban on tattoos in public bathing areas came under scrutiny in 2013 when a Maori woman from New Zealand was refused entry to a public bath in Hokkaido due to her traditional facial tattoos.

The ban is primarily aimed at preventing the entry of members of organized crime syndicates, many of whom have tattoos.

The survey was conducted in June, with questionnaires sent to 3,768 accommodation facilities across Japan. Of those, 581 facilities, or 15 percent, responded.