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What is an ?
Japans geographical location
around volcanoes makes it
suitable for hot springs

Japanese style, public hot

spring with bathing
facilities and inns (Ryokan)
around them

Onsen uses natural occurring

hot water from geothermal
springs, unlike Sent ()
Health benefits of mineral-rich
Sulphate Spring - ryusan sen
Characteristics Therapeutic effects
This spring is known as "water for cuts
and bruises". There are three types of Cuts, Burns, Chronic Skin Disease,
springs: Calcium sulphate, Sodium Arteriosclerosis, Chronic Constipation
sulphate, and Magnesium sulphate

Sodium Bicarbonate Saline Spring - tansan suiso ensen

Characteristics Therapeutic effects
Sodium Bicarbonate is alkaline. It washes
off the fat from the surface of the skin and
Cuts, Burns, Chronic Skin Disease
makes the skin smooth, therefore, it is
called "water for the beautiful skin"
Health benefits of mineral-rich
Carbon Dioxide Spring - nisanka tanso ensen"
Characteristics Therapeutic effects
The soda water expands the blood vessels
and lowers the blood pressure. It also Rheumatism
retains the body temperature.

Radioactive Spring - hoshano sen"

Characteristics Therapeutic effects
It contains a tiny amount of radioactive
minerals. Radioactive spring lowers the Gout, Circulatory Disease, High Blood
blood pressure, and helps the body Pressure, Rheumatism
produce uric acid
Basic Etiquette and Practice
Wash yourself thoroughly before you

No tattoos are allowed - reminiscent of

Yakuza culture

No swimsuit, yes, you need to be


Never rinse or wash the towel in the


Avoid touching the water with the


Ease into the bath, no splashing

Ethical Issues
Pumping of tap water into the
Onsen baths and artificial creation
of the baths water

Lack of health advisory for patrons

Widespread ban on people with

Issue 1: Tap water & artificial
colouring - sunk costs
After continual use, hot springs may
run dry

Innkeepers have resorted to using

tap water to refill the baths

As a result, the bath water loses its

natural colour

Powder is added to provide the more

authentic milky white hue
Tap water & artificial coloration -
Ethical Analysis
Issue Solution Risks
For the benefit of Innkeepers have
perspective: save costs
whole society, claimed that they
& maximise
investments (egoistical added tap water to
amendment to 1948
utilitarian approach) cool the spring
Onsen Law which
water - extra-legal
Societal perspective: If stipulates that any
every innkeeper restrictions
water source can be
cheats and it becomes labelled an Onsen if Businesses would
universal, there will be
it contains any one be affected and
no more authentic
of the 19 designated social ramifications
Onsen (Kants
elements and has a would be enormous
categorial imperative)
temperature of 25c
Issue 2: Lack of health advisory
70% of hot springs use recycled water and filters, some even keep their water up
to a month; resulting in spread of diseases
In Summer 2002, 7 people died after contracting Legionnaires disease - a serious
type of pneumonia
Health advisors have recommended chlorinating the baths but that can cause
onset of eczema and other allergies
Certain at-risk visitors should avoid Onsen
advanced rheumatoid arthritis, serious high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis,
serious diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease
cerebral haemorrhage or gastro-duodenal ulceration
pregnant women
Cancer, leukaemia, sarcoma
Lack of health advisory - Ethical Analysis

Issue Solution Risks

Recycled water - For the good of all Scaring off a lot of
patrons, mandate health
disease spreading customers, businesses
advisory at all Onsens,
will be greatly
Chlorination - Not just guidelines affected (egoistical
recommended by
allergies utilitarian approach)
Japan National
Tourism Organization
At-risk visitors (Rousseaus general
will, common good)

Provide english
translation of advisory for
international visitors
Issue 3: Widespread ban of people
with tattoos
Yakuza gang members
(criminal gang
organization) is
identifiable by their body

Visitors with tattoos may

scare off other patrons

International visitors may

miss out on this uniquely
Japanese experience
Widespread ban of people with tattoos - Ethical
Issue Solution Risks
All-out ban on people Japanese tourism Essentially, these measures

agency have given are still discriminatory

with tattoo is
and infringe upon their
discriminatory non-binding
(Lockes rights & recommendations
These practices violate
Rawls justice
giving tattooed Article 7 (Right to
approach) tourism) & 8 (Liberty of
visitors stickers to
tourist movements) of the
cover tattoos
Global Code of ethics for
setting time frames tourism, adopted by

for tattooed visitors resolution at WTO general

to bathe separately
Would you visit an ?

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