Enjoying a Japanese bath is one of the most unique experiences you can have in your life. Though it can be intimidating at first, it can also be very addictive, relaxing, and healing after a while. There are several bath guides, tips, and pointers which guests need to understand and follow before dipping in. With the multitude of styles of baths in the country, you will surely enjoy bathing in different settings and conditions. Let us navigate the watery world of Japanese baths by taking a closer look at these 5 offbeat baths of Hakone Kowakien Yunessun (箱根小涌園ユネッサン) – a hot spa leisure facility located at the center of Hakone (箱根).
Ever thought of bathing in a tub full of red wine? Then this is a dream come true. This is probably the best way to cleanse the body while having a glass of red wine as well. This kind of ritual is said to be rooted from the frequent practice of Queen Cleopatra of Egypt who was known for her beautiful image. Other than Cleopatra, Mary, Queen of Scots was also known for bathing in sweet wine and she even constructed a bathhouse with two levels.
Wine is said to be very good for the skin. It is packed with antioxidants which slow down aging. In ancient times, it was known as “the bath to regain youth.” Its rejuvenating effect will make you feel and look younger. Bathing in wine will also make you feel rich with its bright purple color and aroma. The best way to complete your experience is to witness the employees actually pouring wine into the tub.
One attractive bath which you can often see on television and magazines is the Rodeo Mountain. It consists of three giant slides with varying shapes ending into a huge pool of water. The excitement is felt while sliding down as it is really fast-flowing. The water is also warm which is very attractive to many tourists. Some people visit the place even in the middle of winter season as it is open all year round. It is a great way to bring out the child in you as the fun never ends. However, you need to be taller than 110 cm in order to enter.
This is an open-air bath which also allows visitors to enjoy the green scenery while chatting or mingling with each other. If you’d like to have a little privacy, you can bathe in a cave house just inside of the mountain. It is a mystical space which is calming for both body and soul.
The Finland Bath gives you a taste of Finland. There is nothing more Finnish than a sauna. It is said that sauna is good for everybody. Only those people with serious illnesses, such as open wounds or heart problems, and newborn babies should avoid it. It is a place for physical and mental cleansing, thus many people actually suggest that your behavior in a sauna should be similar to that of the church. This is also a place for people to bond where you bare all senses to the world.
It is said that in Finland, most decisions are made in the sauna and not in meeting rooms. This Finnish Bath will give you a taste of what that feels like. Oftentimes, people try to sweat out in a sauna then jump into a frozen river in Finland. This variation of hot and cold is recommended for weary and tired people who are in need of total relaxation.
This bath with the “doctor fish” (also known as garra rufa, nibble fish, bonefish, or kangal fish) is one of the latest and popular amusement spots in the area. It is also quite famous in Japanese hot springs and is said to have come from a Turkish practice. This is a form of treatment which is believed to alleviate the symptoms of psoriasis making the skin smooth. The fish are integrated into a spa treatment where they feed on people’s dead skin. It is a ticklish experience which is really fun as you can enjoy it with your family and friends.
A 5-minute experience costs 100 yen per head. However, you have to be very patient in waiting as lines are often long but the experience is worthwhile. Most of the time, the fishes are attracted to older men than other adults and children.
Sake is, no doubt, a very popular alcoholic drink in Japan and for the purpose of beauty, it is also used in baths. It is said that the geishas were the first to discover the beautifying benefits of sake inside and out. Bathing in it warms you up and keeps your skin smooth and radiant. It also stimulates the body’s blood circulation and helps eliminate toxins.
Sake also provides comfort to aching muscles. It is rich in vitamins and minerals which help boost the skin’s natural moisture-retaining properties. It is also considered a brightening and refreshing treatment that can be added to your beauty rituals. If you’re at home, you can apply sake directly to your facial skin with a cotton ball which could help lighten your skin color.
This bath is actually warm which will help exfoliate the uppermost layers of the skin. If you like drinking sake and love the aroma of it, then this bath will soothe you and help you relax. (But of course, you can’t drink the sake in this bath!)
There’s nothing more enjoyable than getting yourself exposed to different unique baths you’ve never tried before. It is an immense cultural experience in the country which provides total fun and relaxation while having the chance to socialize and know other people. The baths are very calming which allows you to rest both your body and soul. If you had a long day, are tired, or lack sleep, then this is a rejuvenating solution worth your while. You’ll magically feel completely refreshed and ready to take on the day!
Hakone Kowakien Yunessun Website *Automatic translation available