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One of the best things you can do in Japan is stay at a ryokan. These traditional inns will not only reward you with the most incredible Japanese-style architecture and interiors — ryokan hospitality is famously top-notch! So if you’re coming all the way over to Japan, then we definitely recommend treating yourself by staying at a luxury ryokan.

You may have heard that tattoos have a kind of stigma in Japan. If so, then you may be worried about going there and staying at more traditional places especially if you’re inked. Well, don’t worry! Times are changing — more and more establishments are accepting tattooed people. For this article, we’ll be telling you everything you need to know about tattoo-friendly ryokans in Japan!

Are tattoos allowed in a Ryokan?

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One of the best parts about ryokans is that they have their own selections of both public and private onsen baths. Onsen forms the quintessential part of the ryokan experience. For many people, it even becomes the highlight of staying at a ryokan! After all, who wouldn’t enjoy a nice relaxing bath in hot spring water that’s been specially infused with different kinds of minerals to soothe you — body and soul?

However, you may have heard that onsens in Japan don’t allow people with tattoos to use their facilities. Is that true? Well, yes and no. Some onsens are strict when it comes to tattooed people, especially the public ones. Then again, times are changing. More and more onsens — even the public ones — are beginning to accept everyone, even if they’re covered head to toe in tattoos.

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But where does this stigma come from in the first place? Well, tattoos in Japan are traditionally associated with criminals. Specifically, members of yakuza (Japanese organized crime syndicates) usually cover their bodies in tattoos as part of the custom. That’s why there’s a bad image associated with tattoos in Japanese society.

That being said, people are definitely moving away from this stereotype and becoming more and more accepting of people with tattoos — especially foreigners!

Ryokans are implicated in this because most of them have both public and private onsens within their premises. While you can always ask your ryokan in advance if they let tattooed people use their onsens, we’ve decided to make it easy for you by compiling 10 ryokans that are certified tattoo-friendly!

1. Nikko Akarinoyado Villa Revage

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We’re kicking off this list with a beautiful pick from the quaint little city of Nikko! Located in the Tochigi Prefecture, Nikko is a small city — but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in beauty. Located in the mountains north of Tokyo, Nikko houses Toshogu, a Shinto shrine renowned for its beauty and historical importance. Established all the way back in 1617, it still stands today as an important landmark in Japanese history. The Toshogu is just one of the places you can explore in Nikko!

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The Akarinoyado Villa Revage is a beautiful lodge — one you can feel at home in as soon as you step through its doors. Guests can enjoy their wide selection of private onsens. The onsen area is split into two rooms in a separate building outside of the main ryokan, with a clever lighting system to let you know which ones are in use and which ones are free. Since all of the onsens here are private, people with tattoos are free to use any of them!

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This quaint villa’s philosophy centers on community, which is why you’ll see a large communal area where guests are free to dine or even make their own meals. Nikko Akarinoyado Villa Revage is also great for families since the ryokan includes a cute little children’s play area. With a wonderful owner who’s more than willing to accommodate your every need, we can’t think of a better Nikko option than Akarinoyado Villa Revage.

Book It Now: Nikko Akarinoyado Villa Revage

2. Hakone Airu

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Up next we have this Balinese-style ryokan set in the gorgeous town of Hakone! This mountainous place is known for having beautiful views of Japan’s pride, Mt. Fuji. Aside from that, the Hakone area is also known for having gorgeous hot springs! Hakone Airu stands out even among other ryokans for its unique approach to interior design. Japan meets Bali here at this incredible resort where you can relax in their wide selection of private baths.

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As soon as you arrive, staff will make sure you feel like you’ve stepped foot into paradise. After a nice welcome drink, they’ll immediately show you the ropes and tell you everything you need to know about Hakone Airu’s wonderful facilities and amenities. With comfortable rooms and themed onsen baths, Hakone Airu will surely give you a memorable experience.

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If you plan to stay here, make sure to sample their breakfast and dinner options! For those who are not a huge fan of traditional Japanese food (though we really encourage you to try!), Hakone Airu also offers delicious Western breakfast options. For those who are willing to experiment a bit more, Hakone Airu’s dinners are pretty much legendary — especially if you add the shabu-shabu option!

Book It Now: Hakone Airu

Read More: Best Tattoo Friendly Ryokans In Hakone

3. Ginka

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Located in Toyooka just a 15-minute car ride away from the Kinosaki Onsen Town, Ginka is a gorgeous ryokan where you can experience the best of the best of Japanese hospitality. Ryokans just go the extra mile when it comes to ensuring you have the best stay possible. Ginka in particular loves to add nice little touches like a coffee grinder and pajama set in every room. They will make sure each guest feels pampered and ready to take on the world!

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If you’re planning to book a room in Ginka, we definitely recommend getting one with a beautiful view of the nearby river. It looks like it came straight off a painting! The peaceful atmosphere and amazing natural views will make you feel like you’ve been transported into your favorite Studio Ghibli movie. Just imagine waking up to that view every day.

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Ginka is located just a couple of minutes away from the famed Kinosaki Onsen Town, where all the onsens are widely known to be tattoo-friendly. However, if you don’t want to go all the way to Kinosaki, Ginka has its own private onsen baths that you can book and enjoy!

Book It Now: Ginka

4. Kinosaki Tenboen

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Speaking of Kinosaki Onsen Town, our next ryokan is located right within this little area! Kinosaki Onsen Town is widely known for being tattoo-friendly. All of the public onsens here accept any patron regardless of how many tattoos they have. If you want something a little more private, though, then we recommend booking a ryokan — especially the Kinosaki Tenboen!

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The service at this ryokan is just immaculate. With clean, comfortable, and spacious rooms, Kinosaki Tenboen will make sure you have one of the most memorable vacations of your life. This ryokan is managed by a very hospitable man who will go out of his way to provide you with perks you did not even ask for.

When at Kinosaki Tenboen, you simply cannot miss the breakfast and dinner plans. These multi-course meals offer a different regional specialty for every plate. The best part? You can customize them depending on your diet! Just inform the chef and staff if you have any dietary restrictions and they will make sure you still get the best experience even while using different ingredients.

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Kinosaki Tenboen has both private and public onsen baths, but the unique part is that even their public baths allow tattooed patrons to bathe. Even at this ryokan alone, you already have tons of options with the kind of hot spring bath you want to experience for the day. If that isn’t enough for you, this ryokan also offers a shuttle to the Kinosaki Onsen area where you can explore even more onsens, as well as to the downtown neighborhood where you can visit tons of restaurants and shops.

Book It Now: Kinosaki Tenboen

5. Kyo Yunohana Resort Suisen

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Our next ryokan pick takes us to beautiful Kyoto, a city known for its classic temples, imperial palaces, and overall just its air of ancient sophistication mixed with that modern burst of energy. Upwards in the mountains of Kameoka, you can find a beautiful little getaway spot that will definitely be one of the highlights of your trip. If the gorgeous view of the mountains isn’t enough, Kyo Yunohana Resort Suisen’s eye for interior design will make you feel like a premium guest for sure.

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This 3-star ryokan offers hospitality at its finest. You can have the staff pick you up at the nearest JR train station so you’ll no longer have to carry your luggage around in your commute. As soon as you arrive, the staff will also welcome you with an intimate yet beautiful tea and dessert ceremony all while they orient you on all the different facilities and amenities of the place. The peaceful atmosphere and natural beauty of the surroundings make this the perfect environment for you to relax in.

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Kyo Yunohana Resort Suisen has its own selection of public and private baths. Even tattooed people can use the public baths — just inform the staff and they will give you some free patches to cover your tattoos with. These hot spring baths are fully stocked with all your different bathtime essentials to make you feel as pampered and as taken care of as possible. After a nice relaxing dip, you can even grab a drink in the lounge or else enjoy a nice bowl of their homemade ice cream — all free of charge!

Book It Now: Kyo Yunohana Resort Suisen

6. Koyado Enn

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Our next pick takes us back to the lovely Kinosaki Onsen area! Koyado Enn is the perfect mix between traditional and modern. This ryokan has all of the traditional Japanese furnishings you would expect from an inn of this caliber, yet it also incorporates modern elements into its service and interior design.

The staff will provide you with a lovely yukata (summer-style kimono) that you can wear throughout the building or even around town. They’ll even personally teach you how to wear this traditional garment so you can be sure that you’re wearing it the way it should be worn.

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Koyado Enn serves delicious tajima beef for its dinner menu, all in different cuts for you to truly appreciate this local specialty. Guests have stated that this is some of the best beef they have ever tasted in their lives, so if that’s not enough for you to book a night at this ryokan, then we don’t know what will! Koyado Enn’s breakfast menu is just as astounding, especially for those who are a big fan of bread and pastries. And the best part? They also offer a free bar during the early evening!

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Koyado Enn provides its guests with free access to all of the onsens in Kinosaki Onsen Town. If you want something a bit more private, though, then you can also opt for the onsens they have in-house. All of these options are 100% tattoo-friendly, so you won’t have to worry about not being able to use the premises. Koyado Enn will make sure you can enjoy your trip as much as possible!

Book It Now: Koyado Enn

7. Kinosaki Yamamotoya

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Our next Kinosaki Onsen pick is the Kinosaki Yamamotoya. It’s located right in the middle of the famous onsen town as well as other nearby popular spots, so staying at this ryokan would be a very convenient way for you to explore the area. Aside from its prime location, Kinosaki Yamamotoya is also valued for its beautiful premises. The rooms are always crisp and clean, and there are also plenty of perfectly manicured gardens within the building that you can explore.

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Here, the staff will attend to you hand and foot. It is the perfect place for you to experience Japanese hospitality at its finest. Best of all? Many of the staff are well-versed in English so you will have no trouble communicating! Kinosaki Yamamotoya provides its guests with beautiful yukatas paired with geta (traditional Japanese wooden sandals) and umbrellas, giving you the full ensemble to go to and from the onsens. They have a beautiful onsen in-house which accommodates people with tattoos, or else you can explore the many different public onsens that are just nearby.

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Book It Now: Kinosaki Yamamotoya

8. Minshuku Miyama

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Our next pick takes us to the lovely town of Yamanouchi located in Nagano City! If this town is known for one thing, then it’s definitely for its population of cute snow monkeys! You’ve probably seen photos of these snow monkeys bathing in the hot springs since these regularly go viral online.

Well, one trip to Yamanouchi will allow you to witness these adorable creatures in real life! Minshuku Miyama is a gorgeous ryokan that is only a few minutes away from the Snow Monkey Park, which makes it the perfect place to stay to explore Yamanouchi town.

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This traditional inn has a quaint and quiet feel to it that just adds more to its charm. Its simple yet comfortable interior will make you feel right at home. The views from this ryokan are gorgeous all year round, but it truly transforms into a romantic getaway spot during winter, where you’ll get a gorgeous sight of the trees covered in fallen snow. The ryokan is managed by a lovely Japanese couple who are dedicated in giving you the best vacation of your life.

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Minshuku Miyama also has its own in-house onsen that you can use at your own convenience. Even guests with larger tattoos did not have any trouble at all as Minshuku Miyama is a tattoo-friendly establishment.

Book It Now: Minshuku Miyama

9. Tajimaya

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This next ryokan takes us back to Kinosaki Onsen Town. If you’re looking for tattoo-friendly establishments, you really can’t go wrong when you visit this area. But even among these great establishments, Tajimaya stands out as a luxury ryokan!

The dark classy interiors paired with that warm lighting will instantly let you know that this is a place to relax in. Pair this with wide and comfortable rooms and you have the perfect recipe for a ryokan!

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Tajimaya’s staff is pretty adept at English, and they’re more than willing to attend to your every need when you stay here. The staff will even help you pick out your own yukata which you can wear as you stroll the streets outside, which will definitely add to your whole experience!

Since Tajimaya is located right in the middle of Kinosaki Onsen Town, you’ll get access to the seven tattoo-friendly public onsens here. If you want to bathe right in the comfort of your own home, Tajimaya has its own private hot spring baths that have been designed to give you the relaxation of a lifetime.

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If you’re planning to stay here, we recommend booking during the weekend! Most stores and restaurants in the Kinosaki Onsen Town area are only open during weekends, so it would be best to plan your trip accordingly. Have fun exploring the downtown area and going into all of the little souvenir boutiques before going home to pamper yourself in the bath!

Book It Now: Tajimaya

10. Morizuya

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And finally, we have the beautiful ryokan Morizuya! Located in the Toyooka area just a few minutes away from Kinosaki Onsen Town, Morizuya is a convenient and — not to mention, luxurious — place to stay in. It’s 100% authentically Japanese, here to provide you with traditional-style rooms and service that a country can be proud of.

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Like many ryokans, Morizuya is here to provide you with personalized service. Even with only a handful of staff members, Morizuya will make it seem like there’s an entire army of people at your beck and call. The owner himself is very hands-on when it comes to attending to his guests. As soon as you check in, he and the other staff members will welcome you with a lovely tea ceremony. Best of all? He’s more than willing to give you a photoshoot or two throughout your stay!

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Morizuya also offers beautiful yukatas that you can wear throughout the property and even around town. They have their selection of both indoor and outdoor onsens depending on your fancy, all tattoo-friendly, of course. Morizuya is perfect whether you’re a solo traveler who enjoys the solitude or if you’re traveling with your family since they also have an adorable playroom that we’re sure the kids would enjoy. This beautiful ryokan just checks all the boxes!

Book It Now: Morizuya

We hope you enjoyed our article on the best tattoo-friendly ryokans in Japan! Which one are you most excited to book a room in? Sound off in the comments!

Having tattoos shouldn’t stop you from getting the most out of your Japan trip. Luckily, more and more establishments are beginning to welcome people with tattoos, so you can definitely make the most out of your vacation when you go here! Gone are the days when all onsens would be so strict about their no-tattoos policy. No, times are definitely changing so you will have no trouble finding a ryokan that will accommodate you no matter what.

You can explore more ryokan recommendations in this article about the best ryokans in Japan with private onsen.

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