Monday, 15 November 2010

An onsen experience

I'm afraid it's been a while since I've put anything on the blog, and now it's all coming at once. I have had my friend Wanda staying for the past week, so we've been galavanting round Tokyo a bit and soaking it all up.

On friday evening we decided to try out an onsen. There are onsens all over Japan and a lot of them are very picturesque and in beautiful settings. This one was an "urban" onsen and in the rather industrial area of Odaiba - the Oedo Onsen Monogatori - on Tokyo bay. It is a bit of a theme park version of an onsen, where the interior is done out like an Edo-era village, so we didn't quite know what to expect.

To get there we had to get the monorail which is quite a stunning experience as you wind around and up the feet of the Rainbow Bridge. It really is a stunning view and the sun was setting as we trailed our way around. When we got to the onsen, we were offered a choice of yukatta (cotton kimonos) and then ushered through to the changing rooms were you have to strip completely naked and then don the kimono. We were a bit apprehensive about this, but once it was done, it felt fine and everyone else is doing the same thing. You then wander around in your kimono, eating, drinking or wallowing in the beautifully hot and relaxing baths. The baths are separate for men and women and after sluicing yourself down and then scrubbing yourself from top to bottom (literally!) you are then allowed to submerge yourself in the rejuvenating water. It was heaven! There is even a mixed outdoor area (where everyone wears kimonos) and you can sit and dangle your feet in the water to the light of the moon.

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