One of Chuck’s friends went to Japan the year before we did, and posted pictures at this Japanese Onsen Theme Park. The experience looked so cool so it quickly got put at the top of Chuck’s Bucket List for our trip.
The Onsen, Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari, bills itself as one of Japan’s largest Onsen Theme Parks. The place consists of a various hot baths, a street food section, and outdoor section and more.
When you first arrive, you check in and drop your shoes in a locker. From there, you select your yukata before heading to the locker rooms. There you find your assigned locker, take off everything except your underwear, and use the instructions on the wall to put on your yukata. And then its time to go explore!
It was so cool that everyone wears one of the assigned yukatas the entire time they’re there. They did take a little getting used to especially the first time I sat down, but we all got a kick out of wearing them around.
It was well after 2pm at this point, so the first order of business was lunch! We checked out each of the many street food restaurants and I think we all ended up with food from a different restaurant.
After lunch, we decided we needed treats since they had so many yummy choices.
Then it was time to explore the facility. We ended up going outside to this really serene area with foot baths. It was so nice and peaceful.
The kids really wanted to use the fish spa like they had in Thailand. It cost extra, but it was totally worth it especially to watch Beckett giggle and squirm.
We noticed that prices for leg massages were pretty reasonable, so we decided to splurge on 30 minute leg massages for the entire family. We booked a time about an hour later and went to the actual onsen (baths) while we waited.
This part is where it gets weird. The Japanese use the baths naked. Completely naked. The men and women are split into different sections, but still. We each grappled with whether we wanted to partake in this, and each decided “When in Rome…”.
The first thing you do is get a locker to put all your clothes into. You’re given a hand towel and a washcloth and that’s all you are allowed to take into the baths. When you enter, you’re supposed to rinse off and then you can go into any bath you want for as long as you want. The baths ranged from cold to lukewarm to blazing hot. There is even an open air natural hot spring outside. I did feel awkward at the start, but pretty quickly realized no one was really paying attention to me and that this is normal for them, so I just went with it.
Once done, there is a section of little tables and stools with various soaps and a hose where you can sit and clean yourself. When you’ve had enough, its time to shower and get dressed in your yukata. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice my main locker room key in the spa’s locker and left it. I realized pretty quickly that I didn’t have it and went back only to find my locker already taken by someone else. Despite the language difference, I was able to explain to the locker room attendants what happened and they put a note on the locker asking the person to return my key. I had to wait till after my massage was over to find out if I got my key back and was so worried that the person would use it to open my locker and steal my stuff. Luckily the locker room staff had it and I could breathe a big sigh of relief.
Back to the massage. We all met up after our onsen experiences and were taken to this massive room with many massage tables set up side by side. We each got a 30 minute leg massage that was glorious. Each masseuse did things differently, but we all had a wonderful experience and it really soothed our tired legs. Beckett was even talking about it long after we got home.
It was somewhere around 6pm at this point and we decided it was time for a snack. So back to the food court we went for snacks and treats. We even got some arcade time in and wandered the little shops.
It was nearly 8pm when we finally left. None of us wanted to go as it was such a relaxing place and it was so nice to slow down after all our busy days in Tokyo. But we were heading to Kyoto the next morning and needed to get home to pack and get some sleep before our big travel day.
If you go to Tokyo, I highly recommend visiting this onsen. Its such a unique experience, but also a nice oasis from the big city.