Ooedo Onsen Monogatari
Reclaim the lost art of bathing naked with strangers in the nation’s capital of Tokyo.
The concept of community bathing doesn’t really fly in most countries nowadays and it has to be said: You’re missing out big time.
The Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari calls itself an “Onsen Theme Park” and in many ways, it really feels like an amusement park. Built on top of a thousand year old hot spring rich in natural minerals, it also has a mini-town inside.
EdoTown, a recreation of an old Japanese village at festival time, is brimming with carnival games, sweet shops and fortune tellers. Bath-shy people need not fear a wasted journey if they can dress up in a yukata (a casual garment usually worn in summer) and try their hand at throwing a ninja star. Spa treatments such as massages and “fish therapy” are also available.
But let’s get to the good stuff: the onsen. The Ooedo-Onsen has a diverse collection of baths, ranging from foot to open-air.
Pebbles and calm water is the secret to success for the outdoor foot bath, situated amongst a beautiful Japanese-style garden. The open-air baths might just be our winter favourite – who wouldn’t want to steam away their cares in a barrel with its own personal stove?
Micro Nano Bubbles (sounds like a future generation of iPod) are sure to soothe and smooth tired muscles in Kino-no-Yu, the Bath of Silk. And if you weren’t feeling relaxed enough, the sauna is lined with 300 million year old Himalayan rock that has magical stress-relieving properties.
In-between sinking into a blissful bath, you should eat something at one of the many traditional eateries. All your Japanese favourites like ramen, udon and sushi can be found easily but what really rounds off the experience is Kawachou. You or your group can rent out a private tatami room where you’ll be served an artistically-arranged, multi-course meal.
Still tense? Your best bet is to hit the souvenir shop and purchase a bottle of authentic barley shochu (Japanese hard liquor) or an original t-shirt, because if nothing does the job – alcohol and new clothes surely will.