Thursday, July 28, 2016


Japan was a place that we continued experiencing shared bathing. We liked it so much that we did it several different times. In Japan, compared to Korea (

The bath was not so much a full activity as it was a relaxing, healthy time in Japan. There were not any coed rooms or restaurants or activities or sleeping rooms. However, the locations of most of the baths was very beautiful. The best ones were outdoors and had a beautiful view of trees and nature. The bath itself was often made of large stones. The most important thing to learn is that you always take a shower and clean off completely before going to the bath. The bath is for relaxation and health of your skin, rather than for cleaning off. Each place we went had a men’s area and a women’s area. 

The first thing you do when you go in is to take off your shoes. Then you go into an area where you take off your clothes and either put them into a locker or a basket. Then you go into a large area that has multiple places for people to sit on very small stools and take a shower and wash hair. People are very thorough about washing. Some also wash off AFTER the bath to remove any dead cells. Finally you are ready to go soak. Photos of the baths is a problem. Everyone is naked, so it is not appropriate to bring in a phone or camera, even if you are NOT going to take any pictures with people.

The countryside
  • John said that when he is up north, staying with his in laws he usually goes to a bath every day. He took us to one not far from where they live. It was small and there were no lockers, just baskets to put your things into. The bath itself was a hot spring and was just outside. It was beautiful. The men’s side was separated by a wall, so you never saw someone from the opposite sex, but you do have to get used to being naked in front of other women. I was only with Sarah at this one and there were no other women.

  •  When we went to the north to see Jesus Tomb we stayed in a really nice Spa called Oirase, near Lake Towada. There were several baths at the spa that got warm water from natural springs. In our room were special clothing for wearing all around, slippers both for the room and to wear out of the room, and a basket for putting your towel and other things in for when you go to the baths. The first night Steve and I dressed up and went to the spa not realizing that we needed to bring our baskets and towels. When I got to the bath and noticed that everyone else had brought their towels with them I went and got a set from the main reception desk. The bath was similar to the one above, but it was much busier.

  • In the morning we went again to get our money’s worth!  It is wonderful! I have never been so clean! You can get a massage or other treatments for an additional charge. This time we just did the baths. Since I am not going to write about this again I will mention that we had a fantastic buffet dinner and breakfast in this Hotel. There was a lot to choose from including Japanese breakfast which included rice and many vegetables and other things or an American style breakfast of eggs, French toast and rolls and even honey that dripped from a hive into a bowl.
    Before leaving we wanted to do a bath one more time. We had already returned to Tokyo and so we took about an hour train trip out of Tokyo to Mount Takao. We walked up the mountain (not anything to strenuous – there is a paved pathway). After we came down we went to the spa at the bottom. There is always a charge for the spa. This one was busy and also had lockers. The first thing you do is to take off your shoes and put them into a locker. Then you bring your shoe locker key to the desk and the person there issues you another locker key for storing your dry towel and clothes. You undress and head to the baths. This one had many baths to choose from. There was a “theme bath” that was blue (I am not sure what that means), an ice cold bath, a really hot bath (40 degrees Celsius) and a few that were a bit above body temperature (38 degrees Celsius). They also had one that was a Jacuzzi . My favorite was a bath where bubbles clung to you like carbonation. It felt really good.

You will have to ask Steve about the men’s side, but it must have been good because he kept saying that we need something like this in Austin.

p.s. This is also where I downloaded and began to try Pokemon Go. It was not live in Japan yet, so there wasn't much going on. Sarah and I did catch one of them though. It was pretty exciting. Now I am in Hawaii and it is a phenomen!  I have caught lots of them, learned how to get poke balls and seen groups of people playing in a location where there is a lot of activity!

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