Experiencing the urban hot spring at Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari

For years now I’ve been dying to visit an onsen in Japan (onsen means hot spring FYI). The top destination for my visit to Japan was Kyoto so I could experience the amazingness of a natural hot spring! TO DIE! While I don’t visit Kyoto until tomorrow, earlier this week I managed to find a metro onsen at the Ooedo theme park in Odaiba.

Just a quick train ride and a monorail later, I found myself downtown, stripped of clothing and thrust into a kimono ready to indulge myself in a wonderful tub of warm water.

I met up with a friend and we wandered around for awhile enjoying the scenery. Ooedo offers plenty of Japanese food stalls, mini bars, tourist stores and a day spa in an entertainment area where you can spend hours getting lost in all the hype. There are live acts for the kids to enjoy and I imagine it would be a pretty cool date spot for couples. After browsing the stalls and eating some ramen for lunch, I head towards the bath house!

First of all, there’s nothing but rules. Two towels are rushed into my arms upon entrance and I’m directed towards a locker to get naked. I am instructed to keep my big towel in my locker and only keep the small towel…though I am still yet to work out why as it didn’t seem to serve a purpose. Mine was used to cover myself instead of walking around starkers. Most people end up placing it over their head as you are instructed to keep your hair and towel out of the baths.

I walk in somewhat apprehensively with my tiny towel covering my “private area,” then “cleanse” my body with the water at the front of the room and step into the first bath I see. It’s bliss. And large too. There are at least 6 different baths you can choose from including a cold tub and a natural outdoor hot spring pumped from 1400m deep. Naturally I sampled all of them as they vary in temperature and style. Some have bubbles, spa jets or just still water. Girls are there with friends, mothers and daughters. It’s great, and after a few minutes I can feel my weary feet and legs restore a little.

Inside the bath house there is a little salon where you can have body treatments before and after bathing. I asked for a full body scrub and shampoo. It turned out to be the best exfoliation of my life! I say this because I’ve only ever done my own exfoliating before haha. It was well worth the extra cost and my skin felt smooth for days afterwards.

One of things I love about the Japanese is their attention to detail. After your dip in the onsen, you can rinse yourself off at one of the many little shower booths pre-stocked with bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body wash. It’s so awesome!!! Then you go into the change room, use your “big” towel to dry off and change. After this, there’s a full corridor dedicated to mirrors, kind of like a hair salon, with a stash of blow dry hair serum, face moisturiser, disposable hair brushes AND a hair dryer. All at each mirror! It’s so amazing and well thought out. Japanese women always look so well-kept, so it just seems to be a logical process for them to offer this type of service so we could all look our very best post dip.

I kind of floated out of Ooedo (after going through the kimono removal, shoe retrieval and paying of course) with some serious natural glow on my face! My muscles felt good for a couple of days following and overall I just had a really wonderful time. I highly recommend visiting Ooedo Onsen Monogatari if you find yourself in Tokyo in the future!

I’m off to Kyoto tomorrow so I’ll be back soon with more onsen and sight seeing summarie, as well as catching up with some of the other adventures I haven’t had a chance to post just yet.

Chat soon!

Mel xo

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