Hakone (箱根) is in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, not far from Tokyo. It’s famous for hot springs, the stunning landscape and views of Mt Fuji (when she chooses to show herself).
We’re staying in a traditional hotel with a spa, called an onsen. Onsens are a big favourite in Japan. They’re super healthy and revitalising, but negotiating the bathing etiquette and searing water temperatures can be quite daunting.
And there’s the sticking point. Tattoos are associated with the underworld here in Japan, and flashing them in bathhouses is a definite no-no.
So we took our tatts back for a traditional onsen experience in the privacy of our room. And we (mostly) stuck to the rules:
- Leave your shoes at the door
- Sit on the small stool and get all in a lather, then shower off so you’re clean and fresh for the soaking
- Forget the selfie stick – taking photos in an onsen is a faux pas (except when it’s in your room of course)
- When you’re bathing, pop your small towel on your head where it’s easily accessible to mop up the sweat. But NEVER dip it in the water and wring it out
- After your bath, take time to relax.
Wait, I’m with the Energiser Bunny (EB).
Translation: get dressed, put on your walking shoes and head off…
Can’t you just feel the serenity?