A postcard of bathers in Onsen Iyo Dōgo. In Japan, there are countless onsens 温泉 – baths with healing thermal springs. People bathe in hot water both for ritual purification and for relaxed socializing. Dōgo 道後温泉 in Iyo 伊予 on Shikoku Island is considered the oldest onsen in Japan.
Karlin visited at least two famous onsens: Hakone 箱根 near Tokyo and Beppu 別府 on Kyushu Island, from where she brought back the tenugui towel 手拭い. Her travelogue Lonely Journey contains several passages about her experiences with bathing in Japan. She recorded that in public sentō 銭湯 women were washed by men and that there was a rumour among the Japanese that Europeans were filthy. On the back, she wrote by hand, “1. Das heiße Quellenbad in Iyo”. (CSB, MV)