Onsen beats sauna

Before coming to Japan and also in Japan I heard many times that I’d have hard time finding an onsen, a Japanese “spa”, where I could enter because I have tattoos and tattooed people aren’t welcomed to these places. Those things got into me and I didn’t even think about what kind of an experience going to an onsen could even be. Well, I managed to find quite easily a place that doesn’t exclude tattooed people. The onsenΒ where I went was Funaoka onsen. I went with a friend who has also tattoos and although we have read that it is ok to go to this place we were terrified when trying to enter the onsen. So my companions in misfortune: at least in Kyoto it is not hard to find an onsen where you can enter with your unwelcomed tattoos. I’ve understood that foreigners with tattoos are not that bad as Asians with tattoos.. for me it is a relief but in general that is sad. Tattoos are art. But I will not go into that now….

I have never been a big fan of just floating in the water so I wasn’t specially interested in an onsen because of the spa but more because it has a big role in Japan’s culture. You go there to relax and let your body soak in the hot natural spring water. Funaoka onsen has many different baths, e.g. wooden bath tub, cold bath and electric bath. The electric bath was very bizarre :-D Of course I ended up there by accident and I was literally shocked because I got small shocks. Awful feeling when you get shocks out of nowhere. Didn’t enjoy that bath that much but the other baths were amazing. They even had a sauna which got me in beforehand really excited but in the end I didn’t even want to spend much time there because the bath water is hot. My face was as red as tomato after the bathing!

So what do you need when you go to a Japanese onsen? You need soap, small towel and self-confidence because before entering the bath you need to properly wash yourself and you bath naked. And don’t be afraid of doing something wrong because the Japanese will help you when you look like you have no idea what to do!

Funaoka onsen is said to be one of the best in Kyoto, and I will definitely go there again! You can’t take photos there but you can check Funaoka onsen’s photos here. I can take photo of my lobster face next time.

Now it is the best time in Kyoto to go to see the autumn leaves. We went yesterday to see the autumn colours inΒ Ishiyama-dera. During this time there are many temples that are open late and they have illumination. All I can say is WOW! So beautiful.. I missed earlier the Finnish autumn because of the beautiful autumn colours but I can say that the Japanese autumn colours are also amazing. I took some photos but my phone’s camera isn’t good enough to capture the amazing view:

It is so strange.. It is almost the end of November and I’ve seen so many butterflies this week :-) at the same time I have a Christmas decoration on my window.

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