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Rugby World Cup

Japan's hot springs rethink tattoo bans for Rugby World Cup

More resorts near tournament venue decide to accept inked-up guests

About 70% of hot springs in Beppu still ban guests with tattoos, but other facilities are easing restrictions to attract overseas visitors for the Rugby World Cup. (Source photo by Kyodo) 

BEPPU, Japan -- On the southern island of Kyushu, the city of Beppu in Oita Prefecture has long been renowned for its idyllic onsen, or hot spring baths. Now hot spring resort operators in the town are reconsidering an age-old issue: how to handle customers with tattoos.

The question has taken on new importance as the prefectural capital and neighboring city of Oita -- one of the venues for the upcoming Rugby World Cup -- expects a flood of fans from overseas.

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