Konyoku (混浴) are mixed-gender baths, a concept that might seem a little risque in a country that generally divides its public baths quite clearly by gender. But the truth is that these baths, open to anyone, have a history going back at least 1,000 years―they may not be common, but konyoku are a long-lasting tradition! Some modern-day konyoku even allow bathers to wear swimsuits or towels, but many still keep with tradition and require all entrants to bathe in the nude. And in reality, they're generally fairly quiet and laid-back, like any other communal bath in Japan. If you'd like to experience this unique Japanese tradition for yourself, read on for a few konyoku recommendations.
Ryokojin Sanso, Kagoshima
- Really, konyoku isn't so uncommon in Japan these days, it's just that many people rent a private bath for the purpose! One of the many ways to enjoy onsen (温泉, hot springs) in Japan, a "kashikiri" (貸切) bath is a bath rented out privately, and it's not uncommon to reserve a kashikiri onsen to enjoy as a couple or a family. If you rent a high-end room in a nice ryokan, you might even have a kashikiri onsen attached to your guest room!