Japanese people are known for their love of baths. Not only do many people bathe at home, there are many other types of baths that some people enjoy daily, including public baths, saunas, hot springs, and rock baths.

To many foreign visitors, visiting a hot spring or Japanese bath is just one of the great experiences of a holiday Japan. However, it seems that there are also a number of surprises that accompany this part of Japanese culture.

We asked several foreign residents living in Japan what kinds of things they were shocked to learn about Japanese bath culture, and people had a lot to say. Do you agree with any of these? Have you had a similar experience?

(The following commentaries are the personal opinions of the respondents).

What…!? I have to bathe with all these people!?

The most shocking thing? Having to take a bath with everyone.

“I love the hot springs, but I don’t really like bathing together with friends or strangers. We’re all guys, but it’s still embarrassing!” (Indonesia/Age: 20s/Male)

“In the US, we bathe alone from when we are really little, so it’s embarrassing to go in together, even if they are my mom and sister!” (America/Age: 30s/Female)

“I wouldn’t want to stay at one unless it’s in a hotel with a private, open-air bath.” (Singapore/Age: 20s/Female)

“The first time was pretty embarrassing, but after going a few more times, I got used to it. But until you do get used to it… it really is pretty uncomfortable!” (Taiwan/Age: 30s/Male)

“My friend back home is transgender. They couldn’t fathom the thought of getting naked in front of everyone in the hot springs, and even canceled their company trip to Japan!” (Canada/Age: 20s/Female)

“I went on a company trip to the hot springs with my boss. I was surprised when she asked me if I wanted to go in together, and I refused. I couldn’t believe how Japanese people can bathe together so casually, regardless of who it is!” (Vietnam/Age: 20s/Female)

While many people love the hot springs, it seems they have some hang-ups about entering together with others. Unless you grow up in Japan and are used to the culture of public bathing and hot springs from childhood, it is normal to feel some level of embarrassment or discomfort.

However, recently there seem to be more hot spring hotels that include private baths, so more and more tourists will be able to enjoy the hot spring experience stress-free!

Why can’t I go in with tattoos? There must be a reason!

“I’ve …

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