The Hotel Public Bath

I am third generation Japanese, all four of my grand parents are Japanese. I was born in Hawaii on the north shore of Oahu. I can speak a some Japanese, but would never be taken for a native Japanese.

A couple of years ago I visited Japan with my mother, sister and brother. We have relatives there and planed to stay with them in several different cities. In our travels, we stayed the night in a Japanese style hotel in a resort town on a lake. One of my Japanese third or fourth cousins was with us. After dinner, she asked me if I wanted to visit the public bath with her. I was eager to go because I wanted to experience as much of the culture as possible. At the time the word "public" did not register with me but as it turned out it meant that boys and girls would be in the bath together.

We started out by taking off all our clothes and donning a yukata, a casual cotton kimono, and slippers that were provided by the hotel. I felt kind of naked with only the thin kimono loosly wrapped around me and tied at the waist. We left the hotel room and walked to the entrance to the public bath. When we entered the bath we put our slippers in the rack near the door. As we stepped inside the bath, an attendant handed each of us a small towel. The towel was little more than a large wash cloth about a 12 inches wide and 18 inches long. We then entered the locker room. There were various stations for grooming yourself and even several massage chairs. My cousin told me that these were for use after completing our bath to prepare ourselves for exit. Here we removed our yukata and put them in a basket on a shelf. My cousin used her towel to cover her pubic area and I did the same. I followed her as she left the locker room and walked over to a series of short stools with hand showers near each one. There was shelves with different kinds of soaps and shampoos. She explained that before entering the hot bath we were expected to wash all over so as not to contaminate the bath. So we sat on the stool, wet ourselves down and scrubbed all over, taking extra care to clean our pubic area. We also shampooed our hair and rinsed well all over.

Now we was ready to step in the hot bath. It was like a shallow pool about 15 feet across and so long it curved around the the edge of the hotel and I couldn't see the other end. She went over to the steps and gracefully walked down into the pool. I did the same, not so gracefully because the water was hot, I mean hotter than any bath I've ever been in. At first I was worried that I wouldn't be able to stand it because my heart was already pounding and my face was sweating profusely. She led me over to the other side of the pool where there was a window that overlooked a garden outside the hotel. We stayed there for a while and I started feeling better, actually it was very relaxing and I was enjoying it. Then she said lets walk down near the other end of the pool. At this point I had no idea that there were naked boys and men at the other end. We got about half way down when I saw my first man, he was just entering the pool and his penis was in plain sight hanging there. I gasped and between the hot water and seeing him I almost fainted. Other girls and a few guys had seen me struggling and my cousin was talking to them. I heard the words Nihon-jin (Japanese person) and gai-jin (foreign person) mentioned several times but they were talking too fast for me to understand much. Then one of the girls motioned toward me and loudly exclaimed gai-jin and ever person in the bath started staring at me. Some of them started approaching me to get a better look. I whispered to my cousin, thanks a lot now lets get out of here quick before I pass out from the heat or humiliation. She lead me down to the women s end of the pool but a few of the guys followed us. I was near the steps but didn't want to get out because they would see my whole body naked. As long as I was in the water only my head and shoulders were visible. In about 15 minutes they were still there talking and sneaking glances at me, I think they wanted to see the gai-jin climb out of the pool so they could get a better look. I told my cousin she had to do something or I was going to pass out in this hot water but I wouldn't get out until they left. She went over and started yelling at them and I guess they got the message and walked down to the other end, looking over their shoulders. When I couldn't see them anymore I climbed out of the pool and some of the girls were staring at me. I don't look any different than them because I'm 100% Japanese but it was the idea of seeing a foreigner naked in the bath house. We went in the locker room, dried off and put on our kimonos and left the bath.

When we got back to room my sister asked me how was the bath. I only said it was great fun, the best yet, you should try it. I was disappointed that she didn't.
Chigeko Chigeko
18-21, F
10 Responses Jul 18, 2010

Sauna Sauna....

Why not let the men see you, apparently it is accepted to who yourself. See and be seen.

To those interested, always remember the old Japanese saying, "Nudity is seen, but not looked at"

If you have the chance, please read my story entitled, "My First Nude Coed Experience", which is about my first visit to a konyoku buro Onsen, when I first moved to Japan. It's a bit similar to your story here.

Me and my brother are black Americans (16 and 14) and we're having six months in Japan attending a local high school. I'm in the baseball club, and my brother's in the athletics club, and after practice the club members all have a bath together. Each club has 3 'joshi-mane' - girls who do all the menial taks for the club, such as laundry, drinks, keeping a weight record, and they come into the bathroom (clothed) and locker room freely. None of the Japanese guys are at all bothered being seen naked by the joshi-mane, and I wouldn't mind so much but they really check me out, scrutinizing my **** and pubic hair and bare butt. My brother says the same about the athletics club girls.

Mixed bathing is getting rarer in Japan. Most ofuroyas have a men's side and women's side, but I noticed whenever I went the old woman who 'cleaned' always would come in and clean when I was there. My Japanese friend used to laugh and say "Equipment check".<br />
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I lived mainly in Kansai (western Japan near Osaka and Nara). Nara is a place where many schools go for their special yearly trip, so lots of kids were seeing their first gaijin and would just walk up and stare.<br />
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I love onsens. I think heaven for me would be to return to Japan and buy a place in the Japanese Alps and drill for my own onsen! a personal lotenburo would be the best. Not to mention you could use the hot water to heat and cool your house (yes cool)<br />
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Most Japanese usually are a bit more circumspect than they were with you, but then many young people do not even know the etiquette of bathing before you get in. And I suspect you are a bijin was far more the reason they were staring and hoping to catch a peek. (*_~)

what a delicious story... wonderful to learn of other cultures and how wonderful and sexy some of their traditions are... got me a little excited to... lol<br />
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Kiss<br />

Public baths are lovely - I lived in Tokyo for 3 years. Onsen were the best though - especially the natural ones with hotsprings from the mountains. I could bathe in them for hours. Especially during winter when it was cold outside, but nice and hot and cozy on the inside of the tub. I never went to a mixed onsen anywhere - but I heard they existed. Most were split between men's and women's onsen - divided by high walls ..<br />
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It was one of my favourite memories of all time and one of the best things you could do when you were in Japan. It is a beautiful culture.

The separation of genders was the result of US influence on Japan post WWII, as was the sudden belief (never around before) that topless women were a big deal. ON hot days women in Japan used to take off tops, especially when working hard jobs. Now they are all as pent up and messed up as people in the USA are. Yay USA, you screwed another country up mentally / emotionally.

I'm half Japanese, my father was in the US Navy when he married my mother in Japan. He often tells the story about the time him and 2 of his drunk buddies went in the public bath in a hotel in Atami Japan.<br />
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He said that him and his buddies went in the hot water and didn't see any women. One of them said the women are at the other end so he started swimming toward the other end. He got about 2/3 of the way there when he passed out face down in the water. Some naked girls ran over and turned him over and held his head above water until my father and his other buddy got there. They took him back to the mens end of the pool and pulled him out on the side. They threw cold water on him until he came too. An official from the hotel came in and told them they would have to leave. They went to their locker to get their clothes but had lost their key. They had to get the attendant to get someone to break in the locker. While they were waiting, father said that he had to go to the bathroom bad so he asked the attendant where the mens room was. The attendant pointed to the door and said through there and through the next door was the mens room. When father went through the first door, he was standing in a small alcove in the lobby of the hotel, buck naked. Needless to say, the ugly American didn't make any points at that hotel and was never welcome back.

I'm Japanese also and can speak pretty well but they would still know I wasn't a native. I plan on visiting Japan with my mother maybe next summer. <br />
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If I got up enough courage to go in a public bath I would be the one sneaking looks at the boys. I've only seen one guy undressed and would like to see more to compare him with. I suppose with that hot water, I would be red faced so nobody would notice me blushing.

aww adorable