Onsen are Japanese hot springs and they’ve featured in SL Naturist before, away back in 2012. I thought it might be time for an update on these bath houses as they do feature nudity, and because it also allows us to examine the naked cultures of the south(ern hemisphere). Yes, yes, yes, I know Japan isn’t in the southern hemisphere, it’s actually on a similar parallel to Spain or the northern states of the USA, but I think that when we exit Europe (or north America) we often tend to think of ourselves as ‘heading south’, and it’s the reason why I will be including ‘the Far East’ in our winter tour of ‘the south(ern hemisphere)’.
I know I’m playing fast and loose with the earth’s geography, but it makes some sense, to me, to include Japan and its attitudes to nudity, in our ‘winter tour’ (alongside S.Africa, Australia, Brazil et al). As the winter progresses we may also include the Indian sub continent (northern hemisphere) in our ‘tour of the south’. So please don’t write in to say ‘you do know Japan/India etc are actually in the northern hemisphere’. Yes, I do know.
I’ve tried to include ‘real’ photos of onsen, and part of the elaborate washing and bathing rituals involved, a task made difficult by the internet’s preference for ‘posed by models’ photographs and almost entire absence of males, who also use onsen.
The etiquette of using an onsen is explained on this page (external link), and also in this video
A further video explains why tattoos are a ‘no no’ in onsen.
It’s hard to know just what the exact etiquette is regarding nudity. Some sources say that mixed onsen are available, others suggest the bathing is segregated.
The onsen is a popular build in SL, with a variety of locations to enjoy them. The photographs above show numerous beautifully located onsen, and the SL builds are no different, uniformly being photogenic sims.
I began at the Sabai Sabai onsen, where males and females can pick up free towels (for both body and head).
I confess that I was so confused by the conflicting opinions about nudity in the onsen that I…erm…checked out a user, hahaha, and yes, he was using the onsen as nature intended! Others arrived and waded in, although I noted that the ladies tended to use the onsen wrapped in the free towels while the men generally went nude.
I moved on to the Empire Paradise onsen, which had a very realistic washing area, such as those shown in real life photos further up the page.
Note how the entrance at Empire Onsen closely resembles the entrance to a real life onsen.
There’s a number of other onsen around the grid, but I’ve just picked a couple to give you a sense of what they look like and how they resemble the real life equivalent. I’m off to explore a bit more of Japan (in Second Life) before joining up with Trine again and jetting off somewhere else, hopefully this time properly in the southern hemisphere!