I Went to a Japanese Wine Spa
Tokyo feels like the world’s entertainment capital, where idle boredom is an impossible option. Whether it’s going to an arcade, taking care of a digital pet on your cellphone, or heading over to acuddle cafe, personal amusement is obtained on demand, through an infinite number of avenues. But with all of these unending lists of pleasurable options, there also seems to be an unspoken discipline in Japanese culture; a silent code that dictates that recreation strictly occur before and after your daily obligations.
It’s because of this mentality that certain types of pre-packaged entertainment getaways appear to be more prevalent in Japan than in the United States, where onsen (hot springs) are one of the most common staycation preferences amongst Japanese locals. With more than 25,000 naturally-occurring mineral hot springs across the country, Japan’s geothermal areas help power 3,000 spa resorts. Ranging from the natural to the man-made, these hot springs come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Traditional onsen are a collection of shallow pools where men and women gather separately to hang out in the nude and recoup from the daily grind. Onsen offer a variety of baths with jets, waterfalls, and weak, non-hazardous currents of electricity running through their lukewarm, rejuvenating waters.
On a recent trip to Tokyo, Japan, the possibility of bathing inside of a flavored onsen appeared on my radar. My girlfriend, Elena, and I decided to pay a visit to Hakone Kowakien Yunessun, a family-friendly resort two hours Southwest of Tokyo, where you can swim in a pool of green tea, wine, coffee, or sake.
Elena in a giant pool of green tea.
Like any other onsen, visible tattoos of any kind are forbidden at the Yunessun resort. I saw a lot of bandages covering biceps, ankles, and the lower area of women’s backs. If you come to the Yunessun with a lot of ink to cover, you’re forced to buy a white spandex shirt that you are required to wear throughout the spa day.