Let’s Get Naked
Hitting up the ski slopes in Japan this coming season? Then you’ll be sure to come in contact with an onsen. These small Japanese baths can be great fun, or disastrously awkward (for you), so here’s a few tips to help you get by and enjoy your naked time.
- Onsens are (unfortunately) same sex, so leave you’re homoerotic tendencies at the door. The Japanese have been born and raised into this culture and they couldn’t care less if you’re a hung like a porn star or packing a pinner; as for the ladies, if you get a few giggles from the locals, it’s probably because you have a different standard of personal grooming.
- Some people will tell you to throw your modesty out the window, but don’t – this is their custom and you should respect it. Bring a small towel to cover yourself with if you’re sitting on the side of the bath: no one wants a full few of your downstairs mix-up.
- Have a drink (or 10) before you go. It’ll help with the first-time nerves. Don’t worry about dehydration – if you can stand to be in an onsen bath that long then you’ll need to see a doctor anyway (they’re hot….. really hot!).
- Wash yourself before you get in. It’s part of the routine and custom, so don’t be rude. Plus, it helps you to acclimatise to the hot water, so grab a bucket (usually supplied), pop-a-squat on the side of the bath and lather up.
- Don’t be afraid to ask! If you think you’re doing the wrong thing then you probably are. The Japanese are incredibly nice and extremely helpful, and thankfully many of them speak some English (and they love to practise it).
- Have a chat, relax, unwind, and let the onsen wash away your pain after a hard day’s skiing.
P.s. If you’re a bit of perve, be subtle and don’t get caught peering into the bath of the opposite sex – there’s trouble to be had if you do.