6.05.2014

Japan Adventures // Onsen Stay


It's been a little while since I have shared a Japan post and I figured we should get on with things so we don't drag this whole trip out until July, right? Although, I wouldn't necessarily mind that :) At any rate, I wanted to share one of the most authentic "Japanese" things we did on our trip: stay at an onsen ryokan (Japanese style inn with hot spring baths called onsens).
The particular one that we stayed at had two different hot spring pools and a foot onsen in the lobby, which definitely felt great after walking around all day.

The room itself was very traditional in the way it was designed and decorated. It had tatami flooring (type of mat used for flooring that is made out of rice straw) for the most part and we slept on futon cushions that the hotel staff set up for us when it was time for bed. No bed to immediately flop on when you walk into the room (the only bummer), but they were actually pretty comfortable.
We had a great view of the little city and surrounding mountains from the patio of our room. Our room was also lucky enough to have its own private onsen on the patio! So convenient!

These yukatas (traditional pajamas) were waiting for us in our room! We got to wear them all around the hotel (even in the lobby!), as well as slippers that were provided. They were pretty comfy to wear around and it was nice to just wear them to big hot spring pools so I didn't have to worry about bringing extra clothes.
After we got settled in our room, we were ushered out so that the hotel staff could set up a special dinner for us. There were about 20 different dishes, I swear. And about 18 of them had fish in them. I am becoming better about handing sea food, but I was definitely not at this level yet! I ate what I could and pawned off the rest on Dai or his brother who was luckily sitting next to me. It was definitely an unforgettable dinner!
All of us eating dinner in our yukatas! It was pretty fun to be served dinner right there in our hotel room while wearing pajamas!
This was the onsen on the top floor of the hotel. At certain times of the day, one onsen is designated for women and the other for men. On this morning, I was lucky enough to have the whole place to myself. When you arrive at the onsen, you get completely undressed and put your things in a basket in the vanity area. Then, you go out to where the pool is and sit at a shower station to clean yourself before getting in the water. Then, you can finally get in and relax!

So, let's talk about the potential awkwardness of all this: you are completely naked. And there are other ladies there. Old, naked, Japanese ladies. This is when I had to just suck it up and go with the flow! I got a few stares since, you know, I'm a young white girl in Japan, but I did my best to not be self conscious because a) it is most likely that I will never see these ladies again and b) YOLO.

An interesting and unforgettable experience indeed! And is it strange that getting to walk around naked was kind of freeing? haha. I felt really great after a dip in the warm onsen. I felt relaxed, refreshed, and ready for the next adventure. I also think it was great for my skin! It made it feel moisturized and healthy. I loved that when I was done, I was able to just sit at the vanity to do my makeup and dry my hair. As a girl who has wanted a vanity for as long as I can remember, this small part was a real treat!

If you are planning to go to Japan one day in your life, I highly recommend that you take a trip to stay at an onsen hotel! It is such a wonderful experience and gives you a nice look into Japanese culture outside of the typical view of it (basically, Tokyo). Plus, the train ride into the country is just beautiful in itself!

How would you feel about getting naked in front of others? Have you ever experienced anything like this?


4 comments:

Whitney said...

Wow, I'm not sure it gets much more relaxing than that! :)

abby - little city adventures said...

What a cool experience! The bed situation doesn't sound ideal to me but all those hot spring pools seem to make up for that. And that dinner, sounds to die for!

Jess // Foreign Room said...

Yeah, it definitely was a cool experience! Something I think I'll remember forever. Haha the beds don't sound fun? I think the pools would be especially nice for a pregnant gal like yourself :)

Jess // Foreign Room said...

Me either! All I needed was a drink in hand :)

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