The hunky actor visited a traditional hot spring at the base of Mount Fuji while in the country to film his new movie The Wolverine, and didn't realise a small towel he was given upon entrance was meant to cover up his genitals.
The embarrassing blunder left the spa's native clientele - who are known for their modesty - in shock as Hugh enjoyed the facilities completely naked with a beer in hand.
He explained: "The place is separated male and female and they hand you a towel, a small washcloth, and there are eight different types of tubs with heats of different temperatures. I'm getting so hot and I'm using the towel they gave me to dip into the cold water and put it on my head and I was getting very strange looks from everybody."
Although the 44-year-old star initially worried he was being stared at because he was the only white person there, a fellow customer quickly pointed out his cultural error.
He added: "I was feeling uncomfortable and finally this guy in the tub grunts and points to my head and then grunts and points to my private parts.
"Finally I realised the towel was meant to be covering my privates and I'd spent about an hour just waltzing around this place with this thing in one hand and a beer in my other!"
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