Stickers may help tourists in Japan get around tattoo ban

Some ryokan inns and bath facilities in Japan refuse to admit any visitors with tattoos. Photo / 123RF
Some ryokan inns and bath facilities in Japan refuse to admit any visitors with tattoos. Photo / 123RF

The Japan Tourism Agency has compiled measures to be taken by ryokan inns and bath facilities to reduce the number of cases in which foreign visitors are refused admittance to bath facilities because of their tattoos.

The guideline measures include distributing or selling stickers to cover tattoos, and allowing customers who have covered their tattoos with such stickers to enter bath facilities.

Through industry organizations and other channels, the agency will call on relevant facilities to better accommodate those foreign visitors, according to sources.

A number of people overseas have tattoos as a way to express their religious or cultural beliefs, or as a fashion statement. As some ryokan inns and bath facilities in Japan refuse to admit any visitors with tattoos, which has reportedly made unfavorable impressions on foreign tourists.

Agency officials consider that improvement measures could be taken to correct the policy of uniformly refusing visitors with tattoos. In addition to the use of stickers, the agency listed such measures as encouraging tattooed customers to bathe in hours when few families use bath facilities and suggesting the use of bathing rooms for private rental.

The agency also plans to ask travel companies to inform foreign tourists that tattooed visitors are sometimes required to follow certain instructions in Japan.

According to a survey conducted by the agency in October last year, about 56 percent of facilities including inns and hotels across the nation did not allow tattooed people to use bath facilities, while about 13 percent said they allowed them to do so by taking such measures as asking those people to use stickers.

- Washington Post

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