It was at Taenoyu onsen in Akita prefecture, a picture of which is on the cover of my hardback book entitled” The Soul of Japan,” was where I had my first mixed bathing experience. The is the cover of my book and where this story took place.
I wouldn’t recommend trying to go to one of these if you have an issue with being nude around the opposite sex.
In the West we have rules about bathing together with the opposite sex – you wear a bathing suit. Here in Japan this rule is gaining widespread acceptance, and I’m here to let the prudes know that I will fight you until the end of the world. With that said, I need to let you know where I stand on this. I think it’s perfectly acceptable for both sexes to bath together in the nude as long as they are healthy….i.e. free of skin or transmittable diseases or lesions on the skin. I mind tattoos, too, and even excessive body hair! I’m sensitive, but I’ve been to enough onsen to know that people with excessive body hair leave hair after they leave the onsen. I remember sitting in a bath neck deep once and seeing a strand of somebody’s hair float pass me. I wasn’t too happy about that. What it boils down to is consideration.
The way my first onsen experience went was something like this. I got into the bath you see in this picture. The four men weren’t there, yet. As you can see in the picture the weather was perfect and so was the scenery. Moments later sitting there all alone two mother naked women jumped into the tub from behind me. Of course I don’t have any picture of them. Anyway, I know how I look. They know I know how I look – they know how I look. There is no mistake that I was a foreigner sitting there by myself.
One sat in front of me and the other one sat close beside me. Both looked no more than 24 years old, spry, beautiful skin, tight young bodies and completely naked, and neither had no shame of their nakedness. This was the most natural feeling I felt in a long time; sitting there with two beautiful local girls in a natural bath completely naked as their breasts floated just above the water – what a lovely memory.
The key here is being naked around two lovely women who were perfect strangers and both appearing to be very at ease. I remember clearly them removing their hand towels away and draping them over the wood, not mine. They didn’t even try to conceal their bodies at all. This is the way it should be, I said to myself.
However, on another onsen trip at a place called Getoo Onsen in Tohoku, a drunk couple were in an onsen with several men, including myself. There was only one lady there and she had her legs spread wide open for everybody in the water to see. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Apparently her and her boyfriend were drunk. She had no problem revealing the bush. So many of the men were asking her why she was so carefree in a bath full of men. Well, she was an attention whore. I didn’t mind, but the being drunk part I did.
This is Japan. This is the real Japan. It doesn’t have to change. This country doesn’t need any religious influence or Western ideals to tell it otherwise. It is the natural way here, and this is the way it should be.
A man and woman should be able to enjoy themselves in nature totally naked and free from shame.