The Japanese Onsen and Public Nudity

A men's bath ~ image source 
My first experience with public nudity was in Japan. A friend took us and his family to an Onsen. A hot spring. We lived in the mountains and the Onsen was remote, secluded.

My husband went with the host and his sons and I went with his wife and daughters.

The woman's bathhouse was the only one I had experience with, for obvious reasons. It was a spacious room lined with little showers with a stool in front of each. We showered first, sitting on our stools.

Once we were clean we went and sat in a large rock lined pool. This was the bath. While in the bath you could walk through the water to the outside courtyard, but I wasn't brave enough to venture out. It was very lavish and relaxing. I could have done that every weekend for the rest of my life. I was the only Gaijin there. The only foreigner. There were little children and old ladies and everyone in between. No one was gawking, or staring. Only to see the Gaijin woman who was an oddity in this remote part of the country. But I was used to that by then.

Photograph by Julia Baier ~ image source 
Later, while visiting friends in Tokyo, we went to another bathhouse. This was in the city. It was not an Onsen, which is a hot spring utilizing volcanic heated water. It was a Sento, a simple bathhouse. And it was much smaller and far less glamorise. But it was still so nice. To go with friends and relax and bath and be warm and clean. To be together. It was such a moment of genuine friendship. Then we all went to a karaoke house.

Both experiences we had kids with us. Adventure Man and I had not yet had kids then, but our friends had their children with them. Being together while bathing was nothing to be ashamed of. This is simply a way of life.

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