Foot Bath 足湯

Warming up from your feet

japan-foot-bath-5

What is it?

In most of Onsen towns, you will find so-called “Public Foot Baths”.

Those are the place where you soak just your feet in (most cases) running hot water in public setting.

Link to Wikipedia in English for detailed explanation of what they are.

Why?

Basically because it warms you up.

But more precisely,

According to the idea based on Eastern Medicine, Your feet are supposed to have lots of vital function to your body system.

You must be familiar with Reflexology. That’s to massage the back of your feet where there are supposed to be so many different “Tsubo ツボ = Pressure Point” that are connected to different part of your body like organs and so on. Then by massaging them, you have those functions revitalised and re-activated.

There goes a similar theory here. At your feet, you have several thick veins and arteries. And they are the furthest from your heart. Therefore, in cold circumstances, you have less active circulation.

By warming up your feet, it encourages your blood circulation at the furthest point from your heart=Your feet, thus warmer body.

How to do Foot Bath

This is a no brainer. Take off your shoes/boots, sit down comfortably and simply soak your feet in the water.

What you need

So if you are staying at one of those Onsen towns in Japan, you want to carry a small towel called Tenugui=手拭い, at least. Ideally, a bath towel as well in your backpack so that you can always be ready to jump in an Onsen or soak your feet in any foot bath.

You now know one thing better than before.

Keep enjoying your time while travelling in Japan!

See you next time!

-Today’s Phrase- 

Ashiyu Wa Karada Ga Atatamari Masu 足湯は体が温まります = Ashiyu warms up my body

Listen and practise. You’ll know what exactly means once you’ve experienced!

 

Nearest Onsen from Yudanaka Station

Kaede No Yu 楓の湯

In Yudanaka, this is the closest Onsen to the station.

It actually sits right behind the station.

Entry Fee: ¥300 for Adult, ¥150 for Kids (Up to 12 years old I think)

Open:  10am – 8:30pm

Closed: The 1st Monday every month

So once you walk in, there is a locker for shoes.

The you’ll find a touch-panel ticketing machine.

You buy a ticket and then give it to someone behind the counter.

(I’m pretty sure you can hire a towel but I forgot to check how much that is. It should be around ¥300 I guess)

Once you walk through the door you’ll see Womens first with red curtain, then Mens at far end with green curtain.

It was very busy when I visited around 3pm, with old locals as well as tourists inside.

Once inside Mens (Or Womens), you will find lockers where you can keep your cloths and valuables in.

You need one ¥100 coin to keep it locked. But it will be refunded when you come back to get changed.

Put ¥100 coin in, lock it and keep the rubber with the key to your locker around your wrist.

This refundable coin lockers are very common at Onsens or Swimming Pools throughout Japan.

You can also read my old article regarding around Onsen Etiquette here.

I’m pretty sure you understand my situation that I couldn’t really take photos once inside where lots of people get undressed. I could be jailed for that…)

So this place is highly recommended to soak your cold body in hot water when you have an hour before you leave on a train to Nagano or something.

Get amongst real Japanese culture while you are there!

See you next time!

-Today’s Phrase- 

Oyuni Tsukaru Maeni Karada Wo Arau お湯に浸かる前に体を洗う = Wash your body before you soak in hot water

Very important to wash your body first in Onsen!

The Best Onsen area near Yudanaka

6 reasons why Shibu Onsen 渋温泉 is the best

As far as I’ve been to and seen, in my opinion Shibu Onsen area is the best to stay around Yudanaka area.

I’ll give you 6 reasons why.

  • It still has the real old-school,almost nostalgic Japanese rural feel to it
  • It’s only 20 min walk from Yudanaka station
  • Also, Lots of major accommodation in this area have pick up/drop off service between the accomodation and Yudanaka station
  • It’s closer to The Monkey Park
  • Lots and lots of small Onsens in this area that you can drop in and have a bath
  • There are some cool hotels and a hostel in Shibu

I will go through each one of the points quickly.

  • It still has the real old-school,almost nostalgic Japanese rural feel to it

shibu-street

  • It’s only 20 min walk from Yudanaka station
  • It’s closer to Jigokudani Monkey Park
  • Lots and lots of small Onsens in this area that you can drop in and have a bath

shibu-public-bath

There are 9 of those in Shibu and only those who are staying in Shibu have access to these.

At the same time, however, most of the accommodation in Shibu has own Onsen in them and a lot of those places welcome those of you who just want to drop in for Onsen without staying.

  • There are some cool hotels and a hostel in Shibu

shibu-nozaru-hostel

I haven’t counted how many there are but looks like there are lots. This hostel “Nozaru Hostel”, (Nozaru 野猿 means Wild Monkey) seems to be very popular amongst young tourists. Of course there are more in variety in class and price range available.

Hope you’ve got better understanding of the area now.

I’ll see you on another post. Cheers.

-Today’s Phrase-

Onsen Cho Saiko! おんせんチョーサイコー = Onsen is so awesome!

Haaa… Nothing beats this in the hot water at the end of the day…

Let’s talk about getting naked in public. I’m talking about Onsen!

So another main attraction of this area is,

Lots of Onsen 温泉.

Hot springs, it is. Not for shy, faint-hearted individuals.

Why? Because you have to be NAKED in front of other people!

There are 8 areas with lots of small hot springs in them around Yudanaka.

There is a good introduction to Onsen etiquettes in Japan on TripAdvisor.

The first tip is

  • You need a big towel (to dry your body after getting out of bath)
  • A small towel (to wash your body
  • A change of cloth
  • Everything else you think you need after bath (like a body lotion and so on)

You normally find at Onsen premises

  • Shampoo and Soap or Body Soap
  • Sometimes a cheap razor
  • A hair dryer
  • You can hire a towel at most of the places too for like several hundred yen if you don’t have one with you

Once inside, basically,

  • No Swimwear or clothing
  • Wash your body first before you get in the hot water
  • No small towel (called Tenugui 手拭い) in the water
  • You also use that towel to wash/scrub your body
  • NO ALCOHOL BEVERAGE inside Onsen

Also,

  • You normally pay at the entrance or should find a ticket vending machine
  • Normally a cold beverage vending machine
  • If you are lucky, Beer vending machine (So nice to have one after getting in Onsen)
  • Remember not to stay in hot water too long or you may pass out (I’m not kidding! I’ve seen this a few times myself!)
  • No go when you are heavily intoxicated (or you could be putting yourself at risk of a serious harm to yourself)

It could be daunting for some to be naked in front of other people, but hey, it’s so nice particularly after a day’s skiing in winter!

One fact to share with you here: People are not actually paying attention to you as much as you think they do (Or at least inside Men’s Onsen…)

Good luck and hope you’ll enjoy your experience!

-Today’s Phrase-

Onsen ga daisuki desu おんせんがだいすきです = I love hot springs!

Keep on keeping on! You are getting better now!