Onsen: Not Your Ordinary Dip in the Water

March 13, 2007 at 11:41 pm 2 comments

Hello everybody! \(^o^)/ My name is Himawari, an American-born girl transplanted to Japanese soil, then replanted in the golden state of California. I’m a hybrid of both countries, so even though the U.S. is my home for now, there are things about Japan that I really miss.

Among those are public bath houses, which Japanese people call “onsen“. I have to admit, it’s pretty intimidating to undress in a roomful of other females, (Junior high school gym class all over again!) but once you get used to that, it’s a great way to relax. The routine is always to wash yourself before dipping into the hot bath. Soap and shampoo are usually provided.


Many bath houses have different “themes”to their tubs which can sometimes fit 50 people. I’ve gone into a tub that shoots out tiny electric currents from the sides of its walls as a way to stimulate the body. Another one was infused with green tea. But my favorite one is the jet-stream bath which blasts warm water directly to stiff back muscles. Ah~~

In Tokyo, there’s an onsen “theme park”which harks back to the days when samurai warriors controlled the country. “Oedo Onsen Monogatari“offers you the full Japanese bath house experience, from putting on a summer kimono to getting a rubdown by their resident masseuse, to slurping up hot soba noodles afterward among a row of festive food stalls.

Their baths are pretty neat, too. And not just the conventional ones with water. Imagine having a woman bury you to your neck in a hot pile of sand. Japanese girls love it because it’s supposed to be a good way to lose weight. Not that most of them need to.

The theme park has another attraction, their outdoor foot bath walkway. I’ve nicknamed it the “maze of death” because you’re stepping barefoot along hundreds of pebbles and stones lodged into the bottom of the shallow pool. Believe me, it’s painful~! But again, the health effects are supposed to be excellent because the rocks stimulate different parts of the body through your feet. Hey, no pain, no gain, right? (^_^)


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Entry filed under: Japanese Culture. Tags: , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Idetrorce  |  December 15, 2007 at 3:20 am

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

  • 2. Irezumi: Getting Inked the Japanese Way « Staff Blog  |  November 1, 2007 at 8:14 am

    […] (gangsters). Though the practice has become slightly more mainstream, it’s still illegal to enter onsen (hot springs) and some public gyms if you sport a […]


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riseup japan support japan and be cool


March 2007


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