Mixed Bathing in Japan 1 – 混浴

Ahh Konyoku, the delicate topic of mixed bathing. While not widespread around Japan, it’s certainly not uncommon to find onsen that allow both men and women to bathe together, and increasingly it would seem, young couples are enjoying breaks together to share a private bath at a relaxing ryokan.

The adverts in this two part post are from Jalan – a useful site for booking hotels and ryokan in Japan. Quite often over the past few months, I’ve seen banners and square adverts decorated with a cute semi-clad girl wrapped tightly in a towel enjoying an onsen bath. They are an excellent example of an eye-catching and slightly risque type of marketing aimed at younger couples. Even more curious is that there are specific versions of the advert reaching out to the female audience, who typically might be thought to be too shy to invite their boyfriend to go to an onsen together. Let’s take a look.


こんよく、わたしが さそっちゃいました♡

I invited him to the onsen ♡

The word 混浴 is made up of two kanji and quite literally means exactly what the English translation says – ‘mixed’ and ‘bathe’. The kanji for 混 also carries a feeling of being muddled up, or packed in (especially on a train): 混雑 (こんざつ). Interesting here is the word 誘う (to invite) used in its casual form. Usually we would say 誘ってしまう – to invite (with a hint of something one feels inclined to restrain from doing). しまう becomes ちゃう in casual Japanese and with the surrounding hearts, 誘っちゃう brings us a sense of a giggling girl who has done something slightly naughty. Note that 〜てしまう (and 〜っちゃう) can also be used to represent actions done by mistake or actions done to their full extent (complete actions) – there are a wide variety of uses.

Also at work here is the が in 私が. The sentence could also be written simple as 混浴、誘っちゃいました to mean ‘(I) invite (him) bathing’. This would be perfectly natural in Japanese where subjects are often omitted from sentences, but here the 私が has intentionally been added. Why? For emphasis!

Who invited him to the onsen? Why, *I* did of course~!


ふたりっきりで ラブラブ、アツアツ

Just the two of us, passionate and in love.

An immensely useful term here – 二人っきり – is used to signify when two people are alone together. You could also say 一人っきり to mean alone by oneself, but it isn’t used quite as much. Note, too, that きり here gives a positive or neutral meaning in most cases. If you wanted to say ‘all alone by oneself’ with a negative nuance you would use ぼっち, as in 独ぼっち (ひとりぼっち) – all by one’s lonesome.


こんよく したい、だいとくしゅう!

I want to go bathing together – Special Edition!

特集 is often used in magazines to draw attention to an expanded article, or special feature. Here, the advert from the Jalan website is promoting its campaign to encourage couples to get and visit onsen together. Notice also that ニュロ mark in した〜い. This is also representative of girls’ speech.


こんよくできる かしきりぶろ!

Private onsen for bathing together!

A nice little nugget here – 貸し切り means to ‘rent out’ something, usually for private hire. So a private bath for you and your lover!


ろてんぶろつき きゃくしつ!

Guest rooms with outdoor baths!

The word for outdoor bath is 露天風呂 – literally ‘exposed bath’. It’s a must-do experience in Japan. Nothing beats sitting in a hot outdoor bath on a snowy Winter day! Also note 展望風呂 (てんぼうぶろ) for baths with great views.


だんじょ100にんが こだわる やどの ポイント Best4

The top 4 things men and women look for when choosing a ryokan

こだわる is the key word here, but it has such an expressive variety of nuances that it can fill its own post, so we’ll save it for the future. For the time being it’s enough to know that it means ‘particular about’ something. In this case, things that men and women look for in particular when choosing an onsen.

A few more expressions on this advert:

開放感抜群 (かいほうかんばつぐん) – Exceptionally spacious
意外と安い (いがいとやすい) – Unexpectedly cheap
お籠り旅行に (おこもりりょこうに) – An overnight trip
特別な日に (とくべつなひに) – On a special day

Alrighty, that’s enough for part 1. In part 2 we’ll examine some small surveys taken on the opinions of couples visiting onsen together!


9 Responses to Gakuu. Studying with Real Japanese

  1. Sabrina September 29, 2010 at 5:48 pm #

    This is pretty cool! Right now I’m studying on Textfugu which is great! I belive Gakuu can be really helpul too. What I like most is that its for pre-intermediate to advanced level students. So you can’t say its the same thing over and over again… students can actually improve their knowledge here. Thank you very much for creating this site. Have a nice day :)

    • Gakuranman September 30, 2010 at 1:09 am #

      Hi Sabrina! Thank you for your comment :).

      That’s definitely our aim. I love Textfugu for beginners and really getting students a solid grounding in the language, but afterwards (and even while) studying the basics, it can really help to encounter raw Japanese material. You don’t have to understand everything at first, but feeling challenged and picking up little bits here and there that are extra to your learning the basics helps expand your mind. Let me know if you have any more questions! More demonstration material will be up soon! We are currently having a special launch sale price for early adopters, so check out the pricing page if interested :).

      • Sabrina September 30, 2010 at 5:14 pm #

        Thanks for your reply. :) Unfortunately I’m even still miles away from the intermediate level. But I’ll definetly return to Gakuu when I get to this point. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the extra demonstration material. :) Keep up the good work.

        • Gakuranman October 1, 2010 at 12:21 am #

          Sure thing :). Let me know if you have any other questions or suggestions for things you’d like to see on Gakuu!

  2. missingno15 October 1, 2010 at 7:31 pm #

    When I looked at this, I first thought to myself, “aw hell no, gakuranman is doing the same thing as koichi…even the website layout is similar”. But then I realized “it’s aimed at pre-intermediate to advanced level students” which is perfect for my situation right now because I now really want to excel way past beginner. So basically, Gakuu really complements Textfugu. Can’t wait for more lessons to see how this is gonna be like so I can decide if its worth getting.

    • Gakuranman October 1, 2010 at 7:37 pm #

      Hey there! Thanks for dropping by :). No way – Koichi and I are buds. I’ve always loved teaching the more advanced stuff so it worked out perfectly. I’ll be adding more stuff in the coming days, so please stay tuned!

      • Lee Aloy October 23, 2016 at 5:20 am #


        I am sorry to ask this silly question. Are you Japanese?
        am hoping to find a Japanese friends here please shot me an email:

  3. DumbOtaku (percent20) October 3, 2010 at 12:58 am #

    This is really cool. I am glad to see more online content going beyond just teaching hirigana and katakana. That is what I try to do on my blog, but with to little consistency. Glad to see an expert do it, btw already a signed-up paid member now. :)

    • Gakuranman October 3, 2010 at 2:24 pm #

      Glad to have you man! Look forward to hearing any suggestions you have for the site and future lessons :)

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